LUFTHANSA HAS AGREED to sell back its 38% stake in UK regional carrier Business Air, less than a year after it acquired the holding. Long-standing partner Crossair is also divesting its 38% stake.

Business Air's founding chairman, Ian Woodley, says that he wanted to buy back the shares to give the regional carrier greater freedom to expand its feeder role at Manchester Airport, where a new international terminal is due to open in March.

Woodley says that the existing code share arrangements with the German carrier will stay in place, but that the airline will now look for additional partners. He adds that "two or three major code share programmes" will be signed up over the next year, including a US deal.

The target is to increase transfer traffic by around 50,000 passengers, largely out of the Manchester hub. The airline will also study enlarging and up-rating the fleet, which is based around seven Saab 340s and a BAe 146-200.

Source: Flight International