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LTU International Airways (Germany)

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IATA ICAO Callsign
Ceased operations2009 (merged with Air Berlin)
Frequent-flyer programtopbonus
Fleet size26 (as of March 2007)
Destinations56 (as of March 2007)
Parent companyAir Berlin
HeadquartersDüsseldorf, Germany
Key peopleHelmut Weixler (CEO)

LTU, legally incorporated as LTU Lufttransport-Unternehmen GmbH, was a German leisure airline headquartered in Düsseldorf. It operated medium and long-haul routes and maintained hubs at Düsseldorf Airport, Munich Airport and Berlin-Tegel Airport. LTU was acquired by Air Berlin in 2007.[1] Use of the LTU brand ceased in 2009, and LTU itself was dissolved by April 2011.[2]


Early years

LTU was established in May 1955 as Lufttransport Union and started operations in Frankfurt. It adopted its present name in 1956 when it operated charter flights. LTU had been headquartered in Düsseldorf since 1961.[3] Over the years, LTU rose to become one of the biggest and most renowned German leisure time airlines and operated worldwide charter flights from many German airports, but mainly from its traditional main hub at Düsseldorf.

In 1983, a Munich-based subsidiary called LTS Lufttransport Süd was founded, which had a similar livery, but with blue instead of red. It was renamed LTU Süd in 1987 and got a new livery closer to the familiar red LTU livery. In 1998 LTU Süd was completely incorporated into LTU.

LTU also operated sister companies in Spain (LTE, 1987 - 2001) and Austria (LTU Austria, 2004 - 2008). Their traditional red and white livery barely changed over the years, thus becoming a recognizable trademark in the German charter flight business.

The airline was owned by March 2007 by Intro Verwaltungsgesellschaft (55%) and Marbach Beteiligung und Consulting (45%) and had 2,892 employees before the Air Berlin merger.[4]

Takeover by Air Berlin

In March 2007, Air Berlin took over LTU International, creating the fourth-largest airline group in Europe in terms of traffic. Combined, the airlines carried 22.1 million passengers in 2006. The takeover was driven by the prospect of branching into long-haul operations and the chance to establish a stronger presence at Düsseldorf Airport. For a period, LTU retained its name on its leisure routes, while routes to the U.S. and China immediately switched to Air Berlin branding.[5]

In April 2007, shortly after the Air Berlin takeover, a new livery was presented. It maintained the traditional red and white corporate colors, but the body was now much more white.

On 1 May 2007, LTU operated the first Arctic & North Pole Sightseeing Flight from continental Europe in aviation history for their charter customer Deutsche Polarflug. The flight took 12h 55m and the aircraft, an A330-200 took a group of 283 passengers from Düsseldorf via Norway, Svalbard, The North Pole, Eastern Greenland and Iceland back to Düsseldorf. The flight was filmed for an episode of PilotsEYE.tv[6]

LTU opened a third long-haul base besides Düsseldorf and Munich at Berlin Tegel Airport in October 2007,[4] basing a single Airbus A330-200 there to launch flights to Bangkok, Punta Cana and Varadero.[7]


Air Berlin announced in 2008 that the trademark LTU would no longer be used. All flights were rebranded as Air Berlin.[8] The last known flight under LTU callsign, but already in Air Berlin livery, was on 13 October 2009 from Montreal to Düsseldorf. As of April 2011, the AOC of LTU had been expired and the company itself was dissolved.[2] On 27 October 2017, Air Berlin themselves ceased operations.


Before being taken over by Air Berlin, LTU served 56 destinations in 22 countries on four continents during winter schedule season 2006/2007. Further destinations were available with codeshare partner Bangkok Airways.


Fleet in 2007

By the time Air Berlin took over LTU in March 2007, their fleet contained the following aircraft:

LTU International Fleet, March 2007[9]
Aircraft Total Orders Passengers Notes
C Y Total
Airbus A320-200 10 24 144 168 one additional aircraft operated by subsidiary LTU Austria
Airbus A321-200 4 27 177 204
Airbus A330-200 8 2 18 305 323
Airbus A330-300 3 18 343 361
British Aerospace BAe 146-300 1 0 104 104 wet leased from WDL Aviation
Total 26 2
Fleet history

All aircraft operated by LTU until March 2007:

LTU Fleet[10]
Aircraft Total Years Introduced Years Retired Notes
Airbus A320-200 12 1999 2009
Airbus A321-200 4 2001 2009
Airbus A330-200 8 2001 2009 Plus two orders (see above)
Airbus A330-300 7 1994 2009
Boeing 747-200 1 1991 1991 Wet leased from Evergreen International Airlines
due to delayed delivery of first McDonnell Douglas MD-11
Boeing 757-200 14 1984 2004 Operated with subsidiaries LTE and LTS
Boeing 767-300ER 5 1989 2002 Operated with subsidiary LTS
Bristol 170 1 1957 1961
de Havilland DH.104 Dove 1 1957 1958 Another example still operating sightseeing flights in historic LTU livery
Douglas DC-4 2 1958 1960
Fokker F27 Friendship 5 1958 1974 Including two prototypes (PH-FDO/NVF)
Fokker F28 Fellowship 5 1969 1974 Including two prototypes (PH-ZAA/ZAB)
Lockheed L-1011-100 10 1973 1996 One fleet was written off due to fire in 1991 during maintenance
Lockheed L-1011-500 3 1980 1996
McDonnell Douglas MD-11 4 1991 1998
Sud Aviation SE 210 Caravelle 10R 5 1967 1979
Sud Aviation SE 210 Caravelle III 2 1965 1968
Vickers VC.1 Viking 5 1955 1963 First aircraft in fleet


  • The initials LTU stand for the German phrase LuftTransport-Unternehmen which translates to "air transport enterprise".
  • LTU was the only German airline that operated the Lockheed TriStar.
  • LTU offered some dedicated seasonal sightseeing flights without landing around the North Pole in partnership with travel agency Deutsche Polarflug.
  • LTU was the air company featured in the CBS video of the Wham! Hit Club Tropicana featuring George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley as air crew.


  1. ^ "Kontakt." LTU International. Retrieved on 21 June 2009. "LTU International Airways Flughafen Düsseldorf, Halle 8 D40474 Düsseldorf"
  2. ^ a b http://www.aero.de/news-12421/Air-Berlin-vollendet-LTU-Integration.html
  3. ^ "About LTUKommunikation Wissenschaft Archived 2014-01-22 at the Wayback Machine." Air Berlin. Retrieved on 21 June 2009.
  4. ^ a b "Directory: World Airlines". Flight International. 2007-04-03. p. 107.
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-02-04. Retrieved 2008-03-13.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ "PilotsEYE.tv - Northpole - To the roof of the world - MoserPilotsEYE.tv". PilotsEYE.tv. PilotsEYE.tv. c. 2010. Retrieved 2019-01-29.
  7. ^ "LTU base". Airliner World. August 2007. p. 9.
  8. ^ aero.de: Air Berlin stellt Nutzung der Marke LTU ein (German) (29. Juli 2008) Archived February 15, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "LTU's Fleet". airfleets.net. March 2007. Retrieved March 4, 2015.
  10. ^ "LTU's Aircraft". ltu-flugzeuge.de. Retrieved March 4, 2015.

External links

Media related to LTU International at Wikimedia Commons

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