FTI, the fourth-largest tour operator in Germany, has developed what is essentially a virtual airline to help it compete better with its competitors, some of whom operate their own airlines. While the operator has no aircraft, it has managed the feat through a new subsidiary—FTI Flight Trading GmbH—that is dedicated to procuring and selling flight capacity.
Established last October, the new unit and has taken on a team of experienced airline staff to develop the new business, which has offices in Berlin and Munich.
According to FTI’s official papers, the subsidiary’s business purpose is “the worldwide procurement and sale of flight capacity in the B2B and B2C areas as well as all activities connected with this.”
What this means is that FTI has, in effect, established a “virtual airline” that could act as a broker and provide capacity for the in-house tour operator as well as for third-party customers. FTI already has some experience in this field, reports the German travel trade publication fvw, by contracting full-charter flights to Egypt and then selling some capacity to other tour operators.
Directors of FTI Flight Trading are the group’s chief Dietmar Gunz and Anja Ruppert, head of flight procurement. They were joined by the ex-Niki manager Nicola Gregor, who previously sold Air Berlin and Niki capacity to tour operators, including FTI. (Both Niki and Air Berlin went bankrupt last year.) Gregor now managing a team of 20 staff, including many other former Niki employees.