Switzerland has a new airline and it will commence operations under the name of Chair Airlines. The leisure carrier is the successor to Germania Flug, one of the two subsidiaries of Germania, which declared bankruptcy in early 2019.

The end of one airline is the beginning of a new one. On June 11, 2019, it was announced that the Zürich-based charter airline Germania Flug has been re-branded as Chair Airlines.

The re-branding and change of name to Chair Airlines (effective July 1, 2019) were key markers of an “intensive transformation process” that Germania Flug has been undergoing since the start of the year, the statement indicates.

“We have used the challenging situation over the past few months to prepare our relaunch, and our new brand is now cutting a fresh figure in the world of Swiss aviation,” commented Chair CCO and Supervisory Board member Urs A. Pelizzoni.

The beginning of this year saw the downfall of the carrier’s parent airline, Germania. After over 30 years in operation, an intense struggle over liquidity problems, following what it called a "particularly challenging year" for the aviation industry, finally led the carrier to declare insolvency in February 2019.

With that, the airline joined the growing list of low-cost carriers like Primera Air, Small Planet and others that had suffered the same fate previously.

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The German carrier with the green and white planes with a history dating back some 30 years has halted all operations and filed for insolvency.Germania, along with its sister maintenance company Germa
 

What remained of Germania were its two subsidiaries: Germania Flug and Bulgarian Eagle. Once the latter unit went bankrupt as well, the future of Germania Flug was put into question.

Nevertheless, the carrier continued to operate under new owners. Albex Aviation bought out the company already in February and took a 100% stake in the carrier. Several months later, in May, Polish charter airline Enter Air also purchased a stake in the airline.

"With us, the business continues as usual. We are on course, i.e. the ongoing winter timetable and the 2019 summer timetable will be maintained as planned, and planning for the winter of 2019/20 is already under way,” Pelizzoni said at the time.

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Unable to overcome its liquidity problems, low cost carrier Germania announced that it filed for bankruptcy on February 5, 2019.
 

The cosmetic change

Chair Airlines is retaining the same strategic positioning and business model of its predecessor airline. "Tour operators have always been our main customers and we want it to stay that way. The aim is to use the new brand to further develop this business area while also optimizing our utilization through the sale of individual seats. ACMI and ad-hoc business round off our fields of activity," the Chair CCO is quoted as saying by ch-aviation.

The re-branded carrier will also continue its former strategy regarding destinations. With a fleet of three 150-seater Airbus A319 aircraft, Chair Air is set to fly to popular Mediterranean destinations in Europe and North Africa, such as Antalya (Turkey), Beirut (Lebanon), Hurghada (Egypt), Palma de Mallorca (Spain), Rhodes (Greece) and others; as well as to Pristina (Kosovo), Ohrid, and Skopje (North Macedonia) in partnership with tour operator Air Prishtina. The company has hopes to expand the range of flight destinations in the future.



Chair Airlines Airbus A319 in new livery (Image: primcom)

According to the carrier, its first A319-100 is already repainted in the new livery, with the other two due to follow shortly, replacing the green-and-white color palette of former Germania with a new red-white-and-blue design.

And why “Chair” you ask? The Swiss carrier said its new name “represents the seat that you book on one of our flights”; it “also represents our Swiss heritage – but above all is a clever play on words”, explains Pelizzoni (the letters "ch” represent the country code for Switzerland, while “air” represents the airline).

As for the ownership, the structure also remains the same as Chair’s predecessor: Schweizer Albex Aviation AG retains the majority 50.01% share in the airline, while Enter Air holds the remaining 49.99% stake. At the helm of Chair Airlines is CEO Tobias Somadien.