First Free Story (1 of 3)

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Last year was pretty brutal for European aviation, and even with oil prices falling, it looks like 2019 is going to be just as bleak.

Leisure airline Germania has become the latest casualty, filing for bankruptcy protection while blaming higher fuel prices last summer and a weak euro for its collapse. Germania had been looking for financing but was unable to source the cash in time.

“Unfortunately, we were ultimately unable to bring our financing efforts to cover a short-term liquidity need to a positive conclusion,” CEO Karsten Balke said in a statement.

According to the aviation research firm CAPA, Germania was the fourth biggest carrier in Germany behind Lufthansa, Condor and TUI fly and it has grown faster than any of its rivals since 2013. At the time of its collapse it had a fleet of 37 aircraft (but this number includes Swiss and Bulgarian subsidiaries, which are still flying.)

Germania’s collapse presents a serious problem for tour operators who had booked customers on its planes. A number of rival airlines look set to benefit.

“We would expect the bankruptcy of Germania to prompt tour operators to quickly buy short-term capacity especially for already booked Easter vacations,” said Daniel Röska an analyst at stockbroker Bernstein.

“This will likely benefit SunExpress the most and have a positive effect on EasyJet and Ryanair.”

Photo Credit: A Germania aircraft. The carrier has ceased flying. ERIC SALARD / Flickr