11/15/2008: LTE International Airways Ceases Operations

11/15/2008: LTE International Airways Ceases Operations

DALLAS — Today in Aviation, Palma de Mallorca Airport (PMI)-based LTE International Airways (XO) ceased operations in 2008. A group of Spanish businessmen and German charter carrier LTU International (LT) set up LTE International in 1987.

Flights commenced on November 1, 1987, after three Boeing 757-200s were transferred over from LTU. The 757 would go on to form the backbone of the fleet, with 15 operating in total. The Airbus A320 in March 2002, with 12 A320s and three A321s flown, would replace the 757.

In 1993, LTU became XO’s sole owner, and the airline expanded steadily. Further bases were opened in Barcelona (BCN), Las Palmas (LPA), Fuerteventura (FUE), Tenerife (TFS), and Lanzarote (ACE).

On May 24, 2001, LTU sold the carrier to a group of Spanish and Italian businessmen. The takeover led LTE to be rebranded as Volar Airlines between 2003 and 2004. In 2005, the LTE name was revived.

LTE’s initial Boeing 757s were transferred over from LTU subsidiary LTU Süd, which wore blue livery instead of the iconic red the airline was known for. Photo: Stephan Tournay, own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

Volar Rebranding

The carrier was sold to a group of Spanish and Italian businessmen on May 24, 2001. This led to its rebranding as Volar Airlines between 2003 and 2004. However, in 2005, the LTE name was resurrected.

On October 17, 2008, the airline announced it was temporarily suspending its scheduled and charter flights due to financial difficulties.

Speaking at the time, LTE’s Managing Director Michael Harrington said, “Because of an unexpected financial situation, we have had to temporarily suspend our charter operations. Our AOC is continuing, and we have to re-present a restructuring plan within the next week to ten days.”

The Volar branding lasted just two years before the LTE name returned. An Airbus A320 (EC-JIB) is seen here in the Volar livery with LTU titles. Photo: Pedro Aragão, CC BY-SA 3.0 GFDL, via Wikimedia Commons

Three of the airline’s seven A320s were then used to continue its ACMI operations. This part of the business generated around a third of the airline’s revenues. Sadly, it wasn’t enough to save the carrier, and operations ceased a month later.

Featured image: an Airbus A320 (EC-KFM) wearing the carrier’s final livery before its closure. Photo: Ken Fielding, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

European Deputy Editor
Writer, aviation fanatic, and Airways European Deputy Editor, Lee is a plant geek and part-time Flight Attendant for a UK-based airline. Based in Liverpool, United Kingdom.

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