OLT Express Germany announced (05-Jul-2012) the carrier signed a contract to take over the operations of Stuttgart-based Contact Air Service GmbH. The aircraft of both companies will continue to be operated under the brand name 'OLT Express'. Antitrust procedures related to the acquisition will likely be completed in early Sep-2012. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Contact Air has a fleet of eight Fokker 100s, and around 500 employees, which will be taken over by OLT Express Germany. Of these, around 200 are based in Bremen, 200 in Stuttgart and 100 in Saarbruecken. [more - original PR - German]
OLT Express to take over Contact Air operations
You may also be interested in the following articles...
Airberlin-Etihad: the loss of 29 codeshare routes endangers competition in Germany, says Etihad
In Dec-2015, the Administrative Court of Braunschweig upheld a decision by the German Ministry of Transport to deny approval of 29 codeshare routes between loss-making airberlin and its biggest shareholder Etihad. The affected routes are among those that had previously been approved, but the Ministry first raised concerns in the summer of 2014, following lobbying by Lufthansa. Germany's federal aviation authority Luftfahrt Bundesamt (LBA) had rejected 34 airberlin/Etihad codeshares in Oct-2014 for operation in winter 2014/2015, but then reversed its decision.
However, in Nov-2015, it approved the 29 codeshares only until 15-Jan-2016. Both Etihad and airberlin are launching a further legal appeal. The dispute relies on different interpretations of the air services agreement between Germany and the United Arab Emirates, in particular the codeshare provisions. The anti-Gulf lobby, led in Germany by Lufthansa, has seized upon the apparent ambiguity in the agreement to damage its biggest German competitor.
Without such approval, airberlin risks the loss of traffic feed, leading to lower load factors and revenues. Etihad CEO James Hogan said in Oct-2015 that the loss of codeshare approval on the affected routes would "severely, and possibly terminally damage airberlin".
Lufthansa: 2016 staff recruitment plans indicate strategic intentions. Eurowings and SWISS to grow
Lufthansa made a big announcement recently concerning the group's hiring plans for 2016. The statement said that the Lufthansa Group will recruit more than 4,000 new employees in 2016, "giving the organisation a top position among the leading German companies". It is relatively unusual for the Group to issue a press release of this nature about its hiring plans and, for this reason, it deserves some attention.
Scratching beneath the surface, the statement reveals much about the Lufthansa Group's planned strategic development in 2016 and beyond. This year will experience a significant step up in its capacity growth, but this growth will not be shared equally by all of the Group's airlines. LCC subsidiary Eurowings is the preferred growth vehicle, and SWISS is also in favour. Frankfurt's dominance may be eroded somewhat in favour of Munich.
Moreover, Lufthansa makes it clear that new cabin crew will be recruited on contracts with a significant part time element. This, together with the development of Eurowings, signals management's determination to drag the Lufthansa Group into an era of greater labour flexibility and cost efficiency.