Despite a 30-year heritage dating back to 1986, it didn’t take long for the financial situation at German low-cost leisure airline Germania to unravel beyond repair. Overnight, the carrier filed for insolvency with the immediate grounding of its fleet of 36 Boeing and Airbus single-aisle aircraft. Thousands of passengers who were due to travel with the airline over the next few days may be left stranded.
“Unfortunately, we were ultimately unable to bring our financing efforts to cover a short-term liquidity need to a positive conclusion,” explained Germania’s chief executive, Karsten Balke. “We very much regret that consequently, our only option was to file for insolvency. It is, of course, the impact that this step will have on our employees that we regret the most,” he continued.
“All of them as a team always did their best to secure reliable and stable flight operations – even in the stressful weeks behind us. I would like to thank all of them from the bottom of my heart. I apologise to our passengers who now cannot take their Germania flight as planned.”
Passengers who had booked their ticket through a travel agent or as part of a package holiday may be protected and should contact their travel agency to be rebooked on an alternative flight. However, passengers who bought a ticket directly from Germania will not be covered and don’t have any entitlement to an immediate refund or rebooking. Instead, passengers should consult their travel insurance policy or contact their credit card company for assistance.
The last 12-months has seen a wave of European airline failures including Primera, Small Planet and Cobalt. Intense competition, as well as overcapacity and higher oil prices, have pushed a number of smaller airlines to the brink. Only yesterday, we learned that low-cost behemoth Ryanair made a loss of €20 million in the third quarter as it pushed airfares lower in order to compete with smaller rivals.
Germania has blamed “massive increases in fuel prices” as well as the weakening of the Euro against the US dollar for its failure The airline also said unforseable events including a “high number of maintenance events” led to its demise.
Bucking the trend of other low-cost and leisure operators, Germania still offered a complimentary snack and drink service, as well as free checked luggage. It was only a couple of months ago that Germania was holding Open Day’s for new cabin crew to join the airline. It’s still unclear whether staff will receive pay for the last month or whether another.