Insolvent leisure carrier Small Planet Airlines Germany has stopped flying after the failure of last-minute talks to find a buyer.
The low-cost start-up airline, which declared insolvency in September, stopped operations on October 31 after its last remaining contracts with tour operators came to an end and without a new investor in sight. Some 400 employees have lost their job.
Managing directors Andreas Wobig and Oliver Pawel had held talks with Dutch-based SMS Aviation, the former investors in Belgian carrier VLM, but failed to reach an agreement.
Small Planet flew this summer with six A320s under contracts with various tour operators, including TUI, Thomas Cook, DER Touristik and FTI. These ran until the end of the school autumn holidays in October. But the airline had no contracts for the winter 2018/19 season after declaring insolvency and as tour operators switched capacity to other airlines.
The airline, 80% owned by Lithuania-based Small Planet Airlines, filed for insolvency in September following several months of troubled operations, including numerous well-publicised lengthy flight delays and cancellations this summer. Wobig and Pawel blamed the insolvency on the financial impact of these problems, which obliged the airline to pay out large sums to passengers in compensation for flight delays and cancellations, while also organizing replacement aircraft at additional cost.
* The situation in the European aviation market will be among the topics discussed by top executives and senior managers at the European Aviation Symposium 2019, organised by fvw, consultants Prologis and the Travel Industry Club.