Although it was founded in 2005 by Drs Raimund Pammer and Dr Helmut Rieder along with businessman Georg Pommer, Robin Hood Aviation did not get its ‘wings’ until 11 April 2007. That is the date when Robin Hood’s airline received its AOC or Air Operators Certificate allowing their pilots to take the aircraft to wing. May of 2007 was the first flight, a trip from Graz In Austria to Zurich in Germany on a 1988 Saab 340A airplane. Later on, the company would expand and purchase a 1989 Saab 340A aircraft.
The Saab 340A airplane is a twin-engine turboprop aircraft meant for shorter flights in business or economy class, mainly as a commuter type plane. It was built in Sweden until 1998. From that we can deduce that Robin Hood’s fleet was used when the company first opened its doors. There is nothing wrong with this as it can be a common practice, particularly with aircraft, which have features making them popular – for instance, fuel economy, seating, safety record. Sometimes private craft which have not seen much use are bought by airlines. Passengers on Robin Hood’s Saab would number between 30 and 36 passengers, and the airplane could fly economy, business or VIP class, and cargo. Flights would be regional, and in the beginning, the future looked bright.
Robin Hood Aviation began its flight route with Graz to Linz flights. By October of 2008 a second route, from Graz to Stuttgart was opened for flights. This was followed by Linz to Zurich, which was then closed between autumn 2008 and summer 2009. It was at this time that Robin Hood expanded their routes to include Klagenfurt (Carinthia) to Zurich. It operated approximately 1,500 scheduled flights over the four-year time period of the company.
Change of the Guard
During its short lifespan, Robin Hood Aviation went through four different CEOs as two of the majority investors all took a turn at the helm. First was a hired CEO named Robert Strahalm, then Friedrich Burger. After Burger, majority holder Georg Pommer gave it a try. This was to be his third failed airline.
Although not directly linked to Robin Hood Aviation, there were two Saab 340A incidents at the airport in Zurich, which happened after the closure of the airline. The Robin Hood Aviation airline itself had no reported accidents, injuries, or fatalities during its operational life.
In spite of changing routes and adding another Saab 340A, Robin Hood Aviation began to have financial difficulties. By March of 2010, it had 24 employees, and went into receivership. Due to payment arrangements and agreements, Robin Hood Aviation was allowed to continue its operations for more than another year. During that last year One third owner Reider became a majority owner and was appointed to a position of general manager/operation CEO of the airline. Coming into it with 20 years experience in the airline industry, it was hoped that with his guidance, the airline would rally. Reider possessed a pilot’s license as well as Executive MBA and Master’s of Science in Aviation Management.
It was Reider’s desire to guide Robin Hood Aviation toward larger aircraft and more destinations for commuter as well as tourist travel. Unfortunately, things did not work out in the end. By 23 August 2011, Robin Hood Aviation filed for insolvency, and the last flight occurred.