New German Leisure Carrier Marabu To Launch In 2023

The startup plans to fly between Germany and holiday destinations.

Credit: Nordic Aviation Group

A new Condor "partner airline" called Marabu is planning to offer leisure flights between Germany and the Mediterranean for the summer 2023 season, using three Airbus A320neos wet leased from Estonia’s Nordic Aviation Group. 

Nordic Aviation Group, which operates under the brands Nordica and Xfly, had previously disclosed that it was setting up an Estonian air operator’s certificate (AOC) for an unidentified European customer, which planned to operate Airbus A320neos from spring 2023. 

The new airline has been named as leisure operator Marabu. Even though the airline will operate under an Estonian AOC, the airline will base its aircraft in Germany. Nordic Aviation Group will provide three A320neos, crews and operational support for the new AOC, but will not handle Marabu’s ticket sales. 

Marabu will be led by Paul Schwaiger, who spent 15 years as managing director of Turkish Airlines and Lufthansa joint-venture leisure carrier SunExpress. Schwaiger has also held senior executive roles at German leisure carrier Condor.

Germany's Condor is describing Marabu as a “partner airline,” which will offer flights from Hamburg (HAM) and Munich (MUC) to holiday destinations in the Mediterranean, the Red Sea, the Canary Islands and Portugal.

Schwaiger said the Nordic Aviation Group partnership has accelerated Marabu’s launch and growth potential. “Together, we can build up a new strong airline for the strongly increasing demand next summer,” Schwaiger said.

Nordic Aviation Group’s airlines operate in seven European countries and have bases in Aarhus (AAR) and Copenhagen (CPH) in Denmark, Lisbon (LIS), Stockholm (ARN), Tallinn in Estonia (TLL), Turku (TKU) in Finland and Vilnius (VNO) in Lithuania. These will be joined by Marabu’s Hamburg and Munich bases for summer 2023. 

Government-owned Nordic Aviation Group currently operates 17 aircraft under its Nordica and Xfly brands, including nine Bombardier CRJ900s, seven ATR 72-600s and a single A320. Over the coming months, Nordic Aviation Group will be adding four A320neos.

“The aviation sector in Europe is growing fast now, witnessing a resurgence of demand,” Nordic Aviation Group CEO Jan Palmér said. “The greatest growth can be witnessed in the segment of leisure and holiday travelers—the market Marabu will be focusing on … This additional business secures strong growth of the Nordic Aviation Group in the long term.”