The debt crisis in Italy has certainly taken its toll on a wide cross section of the country’s economy, and Verona-based regional airline Air Dolomiti hasn’t enjoyed special immunity from the effects. What CEO Michael Kraus called a brilliant period of expansion from 2005 to 2010 has not only ended, but passenger counts have actually fallen over the past two years in the Italian air transport market.
Lufthansa has placed a new firm order for eight Embraer E195s for use within the Lufthansa Regional system, the Brazilian manufacturer announced last month. The deal raises the total number of Embraer E-Jets ordered by the German airline to 38.
Embraer delivered the first of 30 E-Jets ordered by Lufthansa–a 116-seat E195–
ATR 72, Munich, Germany, Aug. 24, 2008–The Air Dolomiti ATR 72 was taxiing for takeoff when the crew noticed smoke from the landing gear. Flames were visible as the 59 passengers and four crewmembers left the airplane. Firefighters extinguished the blaze.
When the Italian government put ailing Alitalia up for sale last winter, Lufthansa was not interested. However, the German group’s Italian regional subsidiary, Air Dolomiti, is stepping up efforts to hook passengers in northern Italy. The company announced plans to base six new Embraer E195s in Milan to enhance its intra-European flight offerings starting in the first half of next year.
An amateur video broadcast by the BBC shows a fierce fire burning near the main landing gear of an Air Dolomiti ATR 72 at Munich Airport in Germany on Sunday, August 24, as the passen-gers and crew evacuate the aircraft.
Lufthansa CityLine is looking at the Bombardier and Embraer regional jet families as alternatives to the firm order for sixty 728JETs that it had placed with airframer Fairchild Dornier. During the ERA assembly, the German regional’s managing director, Karl-Heinz Kopfle, said Bombardier’s CRJ700 and -900s are under consideration, as is the Embraer 170.
Spanish regional carrier Air Nostrum has won the ERA’s Airline of the Year Gold Award for the second time, having previously claimed top honors in 1999. This year’s silver and bronze awards were won, respectively, by Norwegian operator Wideroe and Italy’s Air Dolomiti–a result that was itself a precise repeat of last year’s award.
European regional airlines strengthened their ties with their major airline counterparts from across the Atlantic last month, when Italy’s Air Dolomiti signed a code-share contract with United Airlines, and the UK’s Flybe entered a similar agreement with Continental Airlines.
Air Dolomiti president and majority shareholder Alcide Leali last month announced his intention to exercise an option to sell 31.2 percent of the regional airline’s shares to German flag carrier Lufthansa. The estimated E40 million ($42.5 million) transaction, scheduled to take effect on April 16, would give Lufthansa a controlling stake in the Italian regional airline.
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