The airline was managed by Joachim Klein, a former Eurowings executive. He tried to build an independent regional network based on markets that have been neglected by other regionals and low-fare airlines. But the takeover of Contact Air and the start-up losses on new routes, many of them between Germany and Austria, proved too much of a financial burden. OLT closed down several of its newly launched routes in December.
Panta not only owns OLT, but also Dutch ad-hoc charter carrier Denim Air and Mass Jet Lease, which owns most of OLT's fleet. The carrier operated 10 Fokker 100s, three Saab 2000s and one Saab 340. The carrier's problems had been aggravated by the loss of its last wet-lease contract (for two Fokker 100s that it operated for Swiss).
Augsburg Airways is another German regional carrier that is facing a potential closing. The airline has been operating as part of Lufthansa's regional network, but the group decided not to renew a contract that will expire next fall. Augsburg's owner has indicated he is likely to shut down the carrier and has already ruled out continuing operations as an independent carrier.
Even Flybe, one of the more successful regional airlines of late, has been forced to make draconian cuts. The airline decided to go ahead with a two-year restructuring program that includes a steep reduction in staff: 300 positions or around 10% of the U.K.-based jobs, mainly in Exeter, Manchester and Newcastle, are lost. The airline plans to focus on U.K. scheduled flying and contract business such as the Embraer 190 operation for Finnair that has been placed into the Flybe Nordic joint venture. Flybe posted a £4.9 million ($7.7 million) loss in 2011-12 and has also been in the red a year earlier. Flybe Chief Executive Jim French cites the U.K. air passenger duty (APD) as a key component of its troubles. Eighteen percent of ticket revenues now flow through to the government in the form of APD. According to French, that number is at around 6% for other British carriers with less U.K.-originating traffic.