Lithuania-based Small Planet Airlines has started the process of restructuring its existing operations in Germany after it failed to meet the expectations of an expansion proposed to be carried out this year.

The German Civil Aviation Authority has not revoked the airline’s air operators (AOC) licence, thereby allowing the carrier to continue to operate all its scheduled flights as planned.

Small Planet Airlines started its operation as an independent entity in Germany in 2015 and had secured the AOC in the following year.

It currently operates a mix fleet of 29 Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft serving around 240 destinations from its bases in 15 European countries.

Small Planet Group CEO Vytautas Kaikaris said: “After Air Berlin went bankrupt last year, a niche emerged for the other carriers, and Small Planet Airlines Germany chose to almost double in size year-on-year in order to take advantage of these newly opened possibilities in the market.

“Small Planet Airlines started its operation as an independent entity in Germany in 2015 and had secured the AOC in the following year.”

“However, the company struggled to manage this successfully due to several factors: late delivery of aircraft before the start of the summer season, shortage of crews in the market, unreliable sub charter aircraft and unforeseeable technical events had a devastating impact on a very intense schedule, which led to flight irregularities which in turn led to increasing cost burden.”

The company noted that due to financial losses it was compelled to file for a restructuring process under German law.

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During the insolvency proceedings in Germany, Small Planet Airlines will continue to conduct normal flight operations in Lithuania, Poland and Cambodia.

By the end of this year, the airline expects to carry 3.9 million passengers, up by 29% from last year.