Family-Owned Airline Company Flighte for Survival as European Carrier
The Danish family owned airline Cimber Sterling was established as Cimber Air in 1950, and started flying on some domestic routes. On 3 December 2008 Cimber Air bought parts of Sterling Airlines, which had filed for bankruptcy and the company became Cimber Sterling A/S. The airline company was listed on the Copenhagen Stock Exchange in 2009. Cimber Sterling’s hybrid business model consisted of three core elements: 1. Domestic flights 2. Focussed European routes 3. Leisure / holiday Around 2010 Cimber Sterling was market leader on the point-to-point domestic flights in Denmark. On the remaining two elements of the business model, Cimber Sterling did never reach any sufficient ‘economies of scale’. In 2011, due to financial difficulties, Cimber Sterling made an agreement with Mansvell Enterprises (owned by Ukrainian billionaire Igor Kolomoisky) to inject DKK 165 million, which provided Mansvell with a stake of about 70% in Cimber Sterling. Mansvell’s intention is to create a leading Nordic regional airline. However, on the 3rd May 2012 Cimber Sterling was declared bankrupt after its owner (Mansvell Enterprises) decided not to continue their financial support of the company. Today (January 2013) a new airline company (Cimber A/S) has been founded on the remains of the old Cimber Sterling. The new airline company is going back to its roots and will now concentrate on being a subsupplier for SAS, which is outsourcing more and more to smaller regional airline companies.
Family Business Casebook: 2010-2012, 2013, p. 49-73