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7JetSet7 Code: SGU
Status: Currently Not Operational
Region: EUROPE
Country: GERMANY
Employees 157
Web: xl.com
Email: info.de@xl.com
Telephone: +49 610597890
Fax: +49 61059789499

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SGU-2008-11-ACCDT-ANZ A320

Formed and started operations in 2006. Formerly Star Europe (SGU). Domestic, regional, & international, charter, passenger and cargo, jet airplane services.

Circum Business Park
Geb 1, 3 Stock, Hessenring 13
D-65456 Morfelden-Walldorf, Germany

Germany (Federal Republic of Germany) was established in 1949, it covers an area of 356,945 sq km, its population is 85 million, its capital city is Berlin, and its official language is German.

May 2006: Parent company, the Avion Group said its new Germany-based carrier, "Star Europe" (SGU), will start flying this summer from Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Cologne and Stuttgart to unspecified destinations in Eastern and Southern Europe and the Middle East. It initially will operate three A320s with plans for additional airplanes in the future. Martin Greiffenhagen was appointed CEO. "There are significant opportunities to develop a strong market presence and we look forward to an exciting future for this operation," Avion Executive Chairman, Magnus Thorsteinsson said. "We look forward to operating in the German market with 80 million people, whose travel patterns are similar to those in the UK. We will use our knowhow within Excel Airways (SBE) Group to establish a similar operation in Germany."

The Avion Group projects to invest approximately €10 million in establishing and growing the operation and expects Star Europe (SGU)'s revenues to be nearly €30 million this year. It said Star (SGU)'s initial flights will be operated through Germanwings (RFG) and domestic tour operators.

Avion is best known for its (ACMI) wet-lease provider, Air Atlanta Icelandic (AID), but also is building interests in charter and leisure segments. Its Charter & Leisure Division includes Excel Airways (SBE) Group and Star Airlines (STU), the French charter carrier it acquired in February. It now holds Air Operator Certificates (AOC)s in the UK, France, and Germany, and has more than >37 airplanes in operation. In a recent presentation accompanying the purchase of Star Airlines (STU), the Avion Group stated it "aims to be the leading charter airline in Europe."

June 2006: A320-232 (2500, D-AXLA), delivery (see photo).

August 2006: Avion Group said it formed a joint venture with Australasian airline group Advent Air Ltd, calling for Avion subsidiaries, Star Airlines (STU) of France and Star German Airlines (SGU) of Germany to provide up to four A320s to Advent Air subsidiary Skywest (SKD), a Perth-based Regional. Skywest (SKD) will operate the airplanes from November to April, which is its peak season and Avion's low season. Additionally, Avion signed an agreement to purchase approximately 5% of Advent's currently issued share capital, representing an investment of £1.4 million/$2.7 million, to be financed through Avion's equity and with debt. "The deal provides Avion Group access to the highly lucrative and fast growing Australian and Asian aviation markets through utilization of Star (STU)/(SGU)'s fleet, which comprise some of the newest and highest quality airplanes within the marketplace," Avion Chairman, Magnus Thorsteinsson said.

November 2006: "Star Airlines" (STU) of France officially became "XL Airways France" (STU). The company joins "XL Airways UK" (SBE), along with "Star German Airlines" (SGU), which becomes "XL Airways Germany" (SGU).

March 2008: Dusseldorf International (DUS) will invest €300 million in infrastructure upgrades in order to offer shorter connecting times and compete more effectively with other European hubs. (DUS) is looking to increase the percentage of passengers flying long-haul to 20% from 10%. It is the third-busiest airport in Germany with 17.8 million passengers last year.

November 2008: ACCDT: A French rescue team recovered the flight data recorder (FDR) from the Air New Zealand (ANZ) A320-232 (2500, /05 D-AXLA), that crashed into the Mediterranean Sea November 27, on approach to Perpignan during a test flight, but the (FDR) and previously recovered cockpit voice recorder (CVR) reportedly are badly damaged. The airplane had been leased from (ANZ) to XL Airways Germany (SGU) since May 2006, and was being test flown prior to its scheduled December 1 return to owner (ANZ). Two (SGU) pilots (FC), four (ANZ) personnel and one New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority inspector aboard the airplane were killed. The A320-232, which first flew in 2005, still was registered to (SGU), but had been repainted in (ANZ)'s livery. The acceptance flight was the second of two test flights on November 27. According to Flight Safety Foundation (FSF)'s Aviation Safety Network, the airplane lost radio contact at 3,500 ft, then struck the sea and broke up. "If we look at the final stages of the flight as best as we can piece it together from the factual information, it appears to have been following the flight path that it was expected to follow on its approach to Perpignan Airport," (ANZ) CEO, Rob Fyfe told "Radio New Zealand."

The French Bureau d'Enquetes et d'Analyses (BEA), responsible for investigating aviation accidents, said it cannot explain why an (ANZ) A320-232 crashed into the Mediterranean Sea on approach to Perpignan on November 28. "At this stage of the inquiry, nothing explains why the airplane left its trajectory and crashed into the sea," the (BEA) said in a statement. It confirmed the airplane's flight recorders have been found and that their protective casings and memory cards appear to be intact, but that investigators have been unable to extract information. "Additional work is needed, although it is not possible at the moment to predict results," the agency said. It also noted that "the crew (FC) had given no indication of any problem to air traffic control (ATC), when it stopped responding to their calls.

Later, Airbus (EDS) issued a Safety Bulletin to A320 operators relating to the importance of protecting all aerodynamic data sensors during painting and maintenance and performing low-speed tests at safe altitude. The warnings came as French investigators closed in on the cause of the crash of an (ANZ) A320 being flown by an (SGU) flight crew (FC) on a test flight off the French coast. All seven occupants died when the A320 plunged into the Mediterranean Sea near Perpignan.

Investigators have not announced their findings, but (ANZ) CEO, Rob Fyfe welcomed the recommendations from (EDS), cautioning, "Any speculation as to the outcome of that investigation into the flight . . . would be premature and inappropriate." Fyfe said (ANZ) already has followed the (EDS) recommendations and had not experienced any issues in relation to either of the requirements. "The bulletin from (EDS) is a precautionary measure intended to remind operators of existing manufacturer recommendations," he said.


A report in July 2010 stated that an inquiry by French prosecutors concluded that a combination of pilot error and faulty sensors caused an Air New Zealand (ANZ) A320 to crash into the Mediterranean Sea during a November 2008 test flight conducted by XL Airways Germany (SGU) pilots, killing all seven people aboard.

Prosecutors determined that no criminal misconduct took place and decided against levying any charges. The A320 had been leased to (SGU) for more than two years by (ANZ) and was on an acceptance flight on November 27, 2008, in advance of its planned December 1 return when it crashed off Canet-en-Roussillon, killing two (SGU) pilots, four (ANZ) personnel and one New Zealand (CAA) inspector.

The French (BEA) issued an interim report in 2009 that alleged the airplane stalled during a low-speed, low-altitude test maneuver as it was coming in to land at Perpignan. French Deputy Prosecutor, Domnique Alzeari told media in Perpignan that "faulty sensors might also be partly to blame for the crash." Two of the three sensors apparently were not working and thus the excessive pitching of the A320 "could not be corrected by the electronic brain of the airplane," he said. It is understood that this could be "linked to cleaning operations" on the A320 the day before the crash, he added, explaining that some water may have lodged in the sensors and frozen in flight, causing them to fail. No charges will be filed, the prosecutor stated.

December 2008: (ICAO) Code: GXL (Callsign - STARDUST).

February 2009: Follow-up Report re-November 2008 Air New Zealand (ANZ)/XL Airways Germany (SGU) A320 accident: The A320 that crashed into the Mediterranean Sea during a November 27 test flight conducted by (SGU) pilots (FC) was in the midst of a low-speed test conducted on approach to Perpignan, France when the cockpit crew (FC) lost control, according to a preliminary report issued by French investigators that raised questions about the test's timing and recommended that (EASA) develop regulations for "acceptance" flights. The airplane had been leased to XL Airways Germany (SGU) since May 2006 and was being flown prior to its scheduled December 1 return to owner (ANZ). Two (SGU) pilots (FC), four (ANZ) personnel and one New Zealand (CAA) inspector aboard the airplane were killed.

France's Bureau d'Enquetes et d'Analyses (BEA) did not cite a cause for the crash in the report, but it pointed out that there are no regulations for these types of non-revenue flights, leaving those operating them wide latitude in developing procedures. The (BEA) called on (EASA) to develop specific regulations for acceptance flights and, while those rules are being developed, to authorize such flights on a "case-by-case" basis.

The doomed A320 flight was shortened because "the program of planned checks could not be performed in general air traffic," the (BEA) said. As a result, it was decided that the low-speed check intended to take place during the flight would be conducted during approach. (BEA) Director, Paul-Louis Arslanian told "The New Zealand Herald" that the test was performed "not only [at] low altitude but also [during a portion of flight] linked with specific procedures and heavy workload."

Another issue raised by the report is that the (SGU) pilots (FC) conducting the flight "had not received any specific training for this type of flight." An (ANZ) pilot (FC) on board the A320 had received "specific training" in a simulator but acted only as an adviser. The (BEA) said an accident cause likely will not be identified for some time. But the interim report called for remedying the "almost complete absence of indications or standards" for handover flights. "No documents detail the constraints to be imposed on these flights or the skills required of the pilots (FC)," the report stated. "As a result, operators are obliged to define for themselves the program and the operational conditions for these flights . . . without necessarily having evaluated the specific risks that these flights may present."


A September 2010 report by the French (BEA) stated the following:

"The French (BEA) confirmed the earlier findings of prosecutors that the incorrect cleaning of critical angle of attack sensors and pilot error were to blame for the loss of an A320 operated by XL Airways (SGU) on a return-from-lease acceptance flight off the coast of France in November 2008.

The A320 had been leased to (SGU) for more than two years by Air New Zealand (ANZ) and was on an acceptance flight on November 27, 2008, in advance of its planned December 1 return, when it crashed off Canet-en-Roussillon, killing two (SGU) pilots (FC), four (ANZ) personnel and one New Zealand (CAA) inspector. In its report on the accident, (BEA) said the flight was the first for the A320 following maintenance at Perpignan-based (EAS). It noted that during the rinsing of the airplane by (EAS) personnel, proper cleaning procedures were not followed and the airplane's angle of attack sensors were left unprotected. Water penetrated two of the three sensors, which later froze during the flight.

Compounding the situation, reported (BEA), was the fact that despite flight approval from Perpignan Air Traffic Control (ATC), a separate regional controller refused permission to perform requested maneuvers. That led to the pilots (FC) changing and adapting the flight's planned program, adding complexity to the flight.

(BEA) said loss of control followed the improvised demonstration of the functioning of the angle of attack protections during a low speed test, with the blockage of the angle of attack sensors making it impossible for these protections to trigger. With the pilots (FC) unaware of the blockage of the angle of attack sensors, the demonstration was not stopped before the airplane stalled.

(ANZ) (CEO), Rob Fyfe said the airline appreciated (BEA)'s exhaustive investigation and welcomes the opportunity to review the recommendations alongside regulators to identify where operational improvements on non-revenue flights can be made. "The investigative process is designed to ensure the aviation industry gets critical learning opportunities that will ultimately further improve safety in one of the most cautious and risk-adverse industries in the world," he said. "Check-flights are completed every day by airlines across the globe but as highlighted in the report there is no regulated standard. We have been operating to the manufacturer's standard, in accordance with industry practice and with approval of our own (NZCAA), but clearly a regulatory framework to create consistency and further minimize the opportunity for a tragedy like this to happen is needed."


September 2010: Dublin Aerospace signed an agreement with XL Airways Germany (SGU) to provide base maintenance services of four 737-800s for the winter season 2010/2011. The contract commences November 1.

November 2011: 737-8FH (35093) and 2 737-8Q8s (28218; 30724), leased to CanJet (CNJ) as (C-GDGQ; C-GDGY; & C-GDGT).

January 2012: XL Airways Germany (SGU) will lease an additional ex-Air Berlin (BER) 737-800 from March 2012. It is just operating a single 737-800 on its own leisure charter services this winter with all other airplanes leased out to Canjet Airlines (CNJ) for the Canadian winter charter high season.

Luxair (LUX) will wet-lease a 737-800 from XL Airways Germany (SGU) next summer season.

February 2012: XL Airways Germany (SGU) named former Air Baltic (BAU) (CEO), Bertolt Flick as (CEO) of (SGU). Flick was (CEO) of Air Baltic (BAU) from 2002 until October 2010. Flick replaces Martin Greiffenhagen, who resigned at his own request, according to (SGU).

(SGU) operates five 737-800s and has close to 160 staff. Its network is focused on European tour operators as well as wet-lease contracts.

September 2012: XL Airways Germany (SGU) has temporarily wet-leased A320-214 (2407, EC-JGM) from Vueling Airlines (VUZ) to cover for 737-800 (28226, D-AXLG) which has been severely damaged and grounded at Frankfurt International (FRA) following a collision with a ground vehicle on August 8.

October 2012: XL Airways France (STU) will likely be sold to Swiss-US investment group BeachSide Capital which already owns XL Airways Germany (SGU) as well. According to a news report by "Challenges.fr," (STU)'s current owner Straumur, an Icelandic bank, has entered into exclusive negotiations with BeachSide about a deal that would be expected to be reached by November. (STU) currently operates a single A320-200, three B737-800s and two A330-200s on scheduled and charter services.

December 2012: XL Airways Germany (SGU) temporarily suspended operations for the winter season from December 14.

Three 737-800s have been wet-leased to North America’s charter CanJet Airlines (CNJ) for the winter season until May 2013; two 737-800s will be stored at Cologne Bonn Airport.

Hamburg Airways (HAU) will take over the remaining charter contracts for XL Airways Germany (SGU).

It is unclear if (SGU) plans to resume operations in the summer with its own air operator’s certificate (AOC), which has also been temporarily suspended.

(SGU) is considering further developing its cooperation with Hamburg Airways (HAU). “In our business, it is important to work together. In terms of fleet size as well network development, XL Germany (SGU) and Hamburg Airways (HAU) would fit perfectly together,” Managing Director, Bertolt Flick said.

January 2013: XL Airways Germany (SGU), which temporarily suspended operations December 14, filed for bankruptcy December 27. Plans to relaunch operations in the summer season are unlikely.

(SGU) had operated a fleet of five 737-800s on charter and wet-lease services on behalf of tour operators and other airlines. Three airplanes have been wet-leased to North America’s charter CanJet Airlines (CNJ) for the winter season until May 2013; two planes will be stored at Cologne Bonn Airport.

Hamburg Airways (HAU) will take over the remaining charter contracts for (SGU).


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January 2013:

1 737-8FH (CFM56-7B26) (2176-35093, /07 D-AXLD), (SBE) LSD 2007-04. RF (SWG) 2009-06. TO BE OPERATED FOR SUNWEB. RF SUNWING LEASE. LST (CNJ) 2011-11. WITH WINGLETS. 189Y.

1 737-8Q8 (CFM56-7B26) (160-28218, /98 D-AXLF - - SEE PHOTO - - SGU-737-8Q8-2011-09;" 177-28226, /98 D-AXLG), (SBE) LSD 2008-04. 28218; RF AIR NAMIBIA LEASE 2010-06. 28218; LST (CNJ) 2011-11. 28226; SEVERELY DAMAGED AND GROUNDED AT (FRA) AIRPORT FOLLOWING GROUND COLLISION ON 2012-08. 189Y.

2 737-8Q8 (CFM56-7B26) (1953-30702, /06 D-AXLH; 2286-30724, /07 D-AXLE), (SBE) LSD 2007-04. 30724; WET-LST (CNJ) 2010-11. 30724; LST (CNJ) 2011-11. WITH WINGLETS. 189Y.

2 A320-214 (CFM56-5B4/P) (1564, /01 D-AXLC; 1860, /02 D-AXLB), (USX) LSD IN (USX) COLORS. 1564 LST (MTH) 2007-06. 168Y.

1 A320-214 (CFM56-5B4/P) (2407, /05 EC-JGM "THE JOY OF VUELING"), (VUZ) WET-LSD 2012-09. 180Y.

0 A320-232 (V2527-A5) (2500, /05 D-AXLA, - - SEE PHOTO, - - LATER W/O DESTROYED IN CRASH NOVEMBER 2008), (ANZ) LSD 2006-05. 174Y.


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