Andrzej Jeziorski/NUREMBERG

GERMAN AIRLINE Eurowings, buoyed by strong growth in Europe's regional market, has announced its first profit since its formation from the merger of NFD Luftverkehrs and Regionalflug in 1993.

The airline reports a net profit of DM2 million ($1.3 million), reversing a loss of DM8 million in 1994. Sales were up by nearly 30%, at DM410 million.

The airline says that the figures were boosted by the co-operation agreements which it has put in place with major carriers such as Air France. It also sealed a tie-up in 1995 with KLM on four routes to Amsterdam, and operates an Airbus A310-300 on tourist charter flights for Hapag Lloyd Flug.

Passenger numbers were up by 50%, to 1.8 million, but Eurowings chairman Reinhard Santner now expects 1996 to be a year of consolidation with steadier growth on the stronger routes.

Santner says that Eurowings will sell some of its 17 AI(R) ATR 42s, filling the gap in its fleet with two additional BAe 146-300s. The company aims for an 8% growth in sales revenue, to DM443 million.

The Eurowings results reflect a general optimism among Europe's regional carriers. According to the European Regional Airlines' Association (ERA), traffic growth among its members in 1995 was 12.9% - double that of Europe's major carriers. Load factors edged up to average 54.7%.

ERA warns, however, that runway and air-traffic-control capacities could constrain future growth, and the organisation calls for politicians and aviation authorities to ensure "-that the industry is not stifled by lack of investment and focused organisation".

Source: Flight International