Germany's Woehrl aims to create regional carrier with Air France's CityJet

FRANKFURT Sat Jan 4, 2014 11:36am GMT

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FRANKFURT Jan 4 (Reuters) - German aviation investor Hans Rudolf Woehrl said he wants to merge Air France-KLM's CityJet, which he offered to buy last month, with his carrier InterSky to tap into demand for regional business flights beyond Europe's big airline hubs.

"The aim is to create a new regional airline active across Europe that is big enough not to be pushed out by big carriers like Lufthansa," Woehrl told German weekly magazine Wirtschafts Woche in an interview to be published on Monday.

Air France announced last month that Intro Aviation GmbH, of which Woehrl is a co-founder, made a firm offer to buy CityJet as well as its subsidiary VLM, without disclosing financial terms. It said it expected the transaction to close in the first quarter of 2014.

Dublin-based CityJet, the No.1 carrier at London City Airport, has a fleet of 38 aircraft and offers more than 480 weekly flights across Europe, according to its website.

InterSky, of which Intro Aviation owns 74.9 percent, has a fleet of five aircraft and primarily connects destinations in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, according to its website.

"In Europe, there are not just low-cost flights and business for big monopolists like Lufthansa, but there is also a market for regional connections for business travellers who are not in the big economic centres of Europe," Woehrl told Wirtschafts Woche.

"There will be a revival there, and more and more regions are suffering a lack of flight connections," he said.

Woehrl made a name for himself in Germany's aviation world by when he bought German airline Deutsche BA from British Airways - now part of IAG - for 1 euro ($1.36) in 2003, via his firm Intro Aviation.

He renamed the airline DBA and then sold it to Air Berlin , Germany's No.2 airline, in 2006. The same year, he took a majority stake in Germany's LTU group before selling the rehabilitated carrier to Air Berlin in 2007.

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