By: Rob Mulder
This article is about the history of smaller airline companies in Austria in the period 1918-1938. The history of the main airline company, Österreichische Luftverkehrs AG – ÖLAG, will be described in a future article. Unfortunately we have no pictures about the airline companies mentioned below, so if anyone can supply copyright free pictures we would be interested to publish them.
Together with France, Germany and the United Kingdom, the Austrian-Hungarian Empire was among the dominating Empires in Europe, if not in the world. The Empire was established by Rudolf IV (King from 1358-1365). From 1438 tot 1918 the Habsburg Dynasty ruled Austria. The country supported heavily on the agricultural sector and earned its money here. The country was ruled by famous Emperors and Empresses, such as Josef I (between 1705 and 1711), Maria Theresia (between 1740 and 1780), and Josef II (who stood for some well-needed reforms during the 18th Century) and Franz II, who proclaimed himself Emperor of Austria (10 October 1804). But after 1815 the fame of the Kingdom of the Habsburg declined rapidly. The nationalism under the different nationalities grew and upraises of 1848 in Wien, Praha, Budapest, Milano and Venezia led to a further weakening of the Austrian power. Both the Prime Minister (Metternich) and the Kaiser Ferdinand I. resigned and the new Kaiser Franz Joseph I succeeded him. He stayed Kaiser of Austria until his death in 1916. On November 21, 1916 Kaiser Franz Josef I, Kaiser of Austria and King of Hungary, died and was succeeded by Karl I. Despite his efforts to get a separate peace treaty with the Allied he could not prevent the total collapse of the Austrian Empire in 1918. On November 3 the Danube-monarchy signed the Armistice and on 12 November the Republic of Austria was proclaimed. The National Assembly voted for an Union with Germany, but this was later forbidden through the peace treaties. The Entente did not want a strong Germany dominated Austria. But economically and culturally the whole country was pro-German and many German companies worked together with Austrian industries. Also in aviation this trend could not be stopped.
Austria and Hungary (part of the Double Monarchy) was split up in accordance of the Treaty of Versailles, Treaty of St. Germain and Treaty of Trianon. The new states formed were: Czechoslovakia, Rumania, the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (later Yugoslavia), Hungary and Austria. Gaelic was added to Poland, Böhmen and Mähren, Schlesien and the northern part of Hungary to Czechoslovakia. Siebenburg was given to Rumania and Italy was awarded Istria, Süd-Tirol and Fiume-area (along the Adriatic coast).
On December 6, 1918 the Staatsamt für Heerwesen (Federal Ministry of Defence) set up a new air force under the name of Deutschösterreischische Fliegertruppe (German-Austro Aviation Group) under command of Fp. Hauptmann Sieber. The new air force possessed some 200 aircraft. On January 2, 1919 six squadrons (Fliegerhorst) were formed: In Wien the headquarters, and in Wiener/Neustadt (Fliegerhorst 1 and 2), Graz ( 3 and 4) and Aspern (near Wien; 5 and 6).
In December 1918 Slovene, Croat ad Serb troops entered the Austrian province of Kärnten (Carintia), claiming the country. From the Fliegerhorst 2 a new unit was formed called Fliegerhorst 2a, which was hastily stationed at Klagenfurt’s airport Annabichl. From here a huge number of sorties were performed against enemy aircraft and ground troops. Even mail was carried by the military aircraft. On June 21, 1919 an Armistice was signed and a plebiscite voted Carintia with Austria.
There was, however, little left of the great Austrian Empire and there was no national feeling in the country. In Wien July 1927 saw riots culminated between socialists and fascists. The economic depression after Black Monday in October 1929 hit the country hard. The socialists tried a coup in February 1934, but this was prevented. A new, virtually fascist, constitution under Chancellor Dollfuß was proclaimed. The Nazi tried a coup as well and murdered in July 1934 the Chancellor. Increasing Nazi-pressure led to the famous Anschlüß to Germany of March 1938. From 1938 to 1945 Austria became a province of the German Reich and was after the Second World War occupied by the Allied forces. Since the Austrian State Treaty of May 15, 1955 the country has been a neutral country.
Civil Aviation and Civil Air Register
Austria (or the Austro-Hungarian Empire) has been one of the leading pre-war aviation countries. Already in 1901 attempts were made by Wilhelm Kress to become the first man to fly a powered aircraft. His attempt ended with the destruction of his aircraft. The country, however, developed after the first powered flight of the Wright brothers a number of aircraft constructors, who had a great name. First of all there was Igo Etrich – the man responsible for the Etrich Taube, which still was used by the Germans in the beginning of the First World War for reconnaissance. Another one was Jakob Lohner, who beside land planes, had a good reputation for its seaplanes. After the Great War Lohner even exported a number of aircraft, among other countries, to the Ukraine and to Switzerland. Also the Dr Josef Sablatnig (1868-1945), who set with a Pfeil–Doppeldecker (constructed and built by Ing Karl Bomhard) a new world record on September 27, 1912 with three passengers to a height of 1,120 metres. By the end of 1912, the two were joined by Georg König and formed the Union-Flugzeugwerke GmbH in Berlin-Teltow (Germany). Up to 1916 it designed aircraft, but lack of orders led to the take-over of the company by the Norddeutsche Flugzeugwerke. The aircraft all had a characteristic wing in the sape of an arrow. This design proved to be insufficient and was later abandoned. In 1915 he constructed his first seaplane and in 1916 he formed the Sablatnig-Flugzeugbau GmbH in Berlin. After the Great War he was active within civil aviation and formed a number of airline companies, not only in Germany, but also in other European countries. But he left aviation frustrated and died in 1945.
Numerous airline companies looked for co-operation with Germany with the absolute result: the Junkers-affiliated Österreichische Luftverkehrs A.G. Without doubt this company, together with the Finnish airline company Aero O/Y and the Swedish AB Aerotransport, was the biggest success of the Junkers’ expansion plans: To form airline companies that would buy Junkers-aircraft. The Österreichische Luftverkehrs AG – ÖLAG took in the mid-thirties a fourth place on the European list of airline companies.
Civil aviation felt under since May 1, 1919 under the Staatsamt für Verkehrswesen (Federal Ministry of Traffic), which had formed a special bureau for aviation matters: the Büro für Luftfahrtangelegenheiten – BfL. On December 10, 1919 the first aviation law was passed and based on this law the I. Oberösterreichische Luft- und Motorbootverkehrs-gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung – OLMV (q.v.) was one of the first to receive a Zulassung (a Permit was issued on June 12, 1920) to start operation.
The BfL was succeeded by the Österreichischer Luftfahrtausschuß, which felt under the Federal Ministry for Commerce and Transport. The Bundesministerium für Handel & Verkehr (Ministry of Trade and Transport) provided the State regulation of civil flying through the Luftamt (Air Department).
Austria adapted the national identity letter ‘’A’’, followed by a number. After the Great War Austria started to register aircraft, most of them former military aircraft. The terms of the Peace Treaty dictated the destruction of all (former) military aircraft also those with civil registrations. Of the first batch of registrations the lowest known number is A-5 (a Brandenburg-aircraft), while the highest number was A-64 (a Oeffag D.III). After the destruction of these aircraft, the register was re-opened with the A-1. This registration was allotted to an Austrian-built Hopfner SI-trainer. A complete list of the second register is not known. Some of the registration was used again, after the first registration had been cancelled due to accidents or sales abroad.
On September 8, 1930 the 1. Luftverkehrsverordnung (the first Air Traffic Regulations) were issued, giving information how to register their aircraft. Previous one could write the registration as A-5, A.5 or even A 5. The new regulations stipulated among others that the official way of writing was to be A-5. As in Germany, Hungary and Bulgaria, also Austria had a secret Air Force. The aircraft used by this air force were registered into the Civil Air Register and only first on April 1, 1934 blocks were reserved for special units: the 200-serie for fighters and the 300-series for reconnaissance aircraft.
The 4. Luftverkehrsverordnung of 1935 introduced a new Civil Air Register. On April 1, 1935 the national identity was changed into OE-, which was followed by a combination of three letters. All aircraft in the second A-register were to be re-registered within May 1, 1936. Civil airliners were given the letters OE-L.. and after the Anschlüß to Germany of March 1938, the German Reichsluft-fahrtministerium took over the Austrian Register and changed the Austrian registrations into German ones. All aircraft were re-registered with the D-E, followed by the last three letters of the Austrian registration. The complete Austrian register was taken to Germany and disappeared during the Second World War.
The Austrian airline companies 1918-1938
Der Pony Express (1918)
During the last years of the Great War the Austrian Air Forces started to organise a air mail service from Wien, the capital of Austria, to Olmütz, Krakòv, Lwòw, Proskurow and Kiew in Russia. The first international air mail service (1,200km long!) was officially opened April 1, 1918, but already in March (March 20-29) test flights over the route had been made, using Hansa Brandenburg C I aircraft. The test flights were concluded on March 29, 1918 and on April 1, 1918 the Minister of Trade and the Inspector-General of the Austrian Air Forces could attend the official opening of the airmail service. The line was organised and supervised by the well-known Rittmeister August Raft von Marvil. The aircraft used on this line were all ex-military aircraft, not fit enough for enemy duty. The reason for flying this long line was to forward the military mail faster to the Ukraine, which by then was occupied by Austrian-German troops.
At every intermediate stop they changed aircraft. The line was meant for mail in the first place, but passengers were transported if space available. The Austrians named the route Der Pony Express after the famous American mail-carriage route in the 19th Century.
By May 1, 1918 a sideline from Proskurow to Odessa and later (on July 4, 1918) one from Wien to Budapest were opened. On these lines no accidents were registered and 90% of the flights were according to schedule. Unfortunately the end of the War, also meant the end of the lines. The service was flown according to the following schedule:
Leg Departure Arrival
Wien – Krakòw 4.30am 8.00am
Krakòw – Lwòw 8.30am 11.00am
Lwòw – Proskurow 11.30am 2.00pm
Proskurow – Kiew 3.00pm 5.30pm
Kiew-Proskurow 4.00am 6.30am
Proskurow – Lwòw 7.30am 10.00am
Lwòw – Krakòw 10.30am 12.00noon
Krakòw – Wien 12.30noon 4.30pm
A few notable events can be mentioned here as well. From May 20, 1918 telegrams were taken along the routes and from July 1, 1918 civil airmail was transported as well. The route was flown with at least twenty-two aircraft (Hansa Brandenburg C I, Oeffag C II and Albatros-types), fourteen pilots and sixteen reconnaissance officers. It may well be said that the results on this long route were amazing, taking into consideration the aircraft used and the length of the line. An advantage was that at each intermediate stop, the aircraft was changed to ensure a trouble free next stage. This must have been one of the main reasons why the line became such a success. Any traffic results are not known. The end of the War and the Treaty of St. Germain-en-Laye (September 10, 1919) led to the total destruction of all civil and military aircraft in Austrian.
I. Oberösterreichische Luft- und Motorboot-verkehrsgesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung (1919-1921)
After the signing of the Peace Treaty between Austria and the Entente, it took some time to implement the destruction of all military aircraft were destroyed and because of this one airline company managed to start up business, be it on a small scale. Johann (Hans) Wanneck (On April 4, 1919 he was awarded Pilot licence number 156 after finishing his training in Switzerland) was a well-known pilot from Linz and he belonged to the founders of the first airline company in Austria: The I. Oberösterreichische Luft- und Motorbootverkehrsgesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung – OLMV (First Upper Austrian Air- and Shipping Co. Ltd.; some sources name the company I. Oberösterreichische Flugverkehrsgesellschaft m.b.H.). The company was founded on September 19, 1919 with a stock-capital of ÖKr.250,000, of which 50 % was fully paid at the time of the registration. The main aims of the company were:
- The promotion of aviation;
- To carry out advertising flight;
- To carry out charter flights and start regular services;
- To trade spare parts for aircraft; and
- The building of an airport near Linz, including workshops, hangars and the rental out of such facilities.
The airlines’ aviation department (the company also planned to open a shipping route between Linz and Passau and Linz and Grain) had at least four aircraft: two Hansa Brandenburg C Is and two Oeffag D III. All ex-military aircraft and all were used for joy-and charter flights.
With one of the Hansa Brandenburg C I aircraft Johann Wanneck had flown from Linz to Salzburg (July 4, 1919) to survey the route. The company, however, never opened any regular flights. This aircraft may well have become one of the aircraft used by the airline company.
To achieve the aim of opening an airfield, the City of Linz was formally asked (on March 26, 1920) by the management of the airline company to allow them to use the drill-grounds of Linz until the planned Katzenau airfield was completed. On July 13, 1920 the OLMV was given the right to use the drill-grounds although many of its neighbours objected opposed the opening of this side. The company used the airfield nevertheless, although a final decision by the local authorities was not made until October 2, 1921 (by then the company was already liquidated). The OLMV has organised a big air show on June 20, 1920, which was attended by 10,000 spectators, and which saw among other things, feigned attacks with aircraft, glider flights and parachute landings with a doll! After the show people could make joy-riding flights with the aircraft.
Hans Wanneck enjoyed great popularity. On October 2, 1920 he wanted to make a charter flight with Franz Reiter, and two girls named Ella Kirchmayr and Anna Endt. When the aircraft had just taken off it turned over and crashed on the airfield. Only Reiter broke his nose. The other passengers and the two girls were unhurt. The aircraft however was damaged beyond repair and subsequently written off.
But business did not bloom very well and on March 15 ,1921 the shareholders filed bankruptcy. On October 23, 1921 they tried to increase the capital stock to Ökr.750,000, but they did not manage. The I. Oberösterreichische Luft- und Motorbootverkehrsgesellschaft m.b.H. was finally erased from the Trade Register on July 25, 1930.
Tiroler Fliegerverband (1920-1922)
The Tiroler Fliegerverband (Tyrolean Pilot Association) was formed in Innsbruck, the capital of Tyrol, on 1 January 1920. Its President was Oskar Hummel. It objective was to organise air demonstrations, distribution of aviation material, and training of pilots, aerial photography, taxi and charter flying. On July 5, 1920 the Staatsamt für Inneres und Unterricht (Federal Ministry of Internal Affairs and Education) allows the company in Austria (under Zulassung Zl.27.624). Beside the early mentioned activities the Tiroler Fliegerverband scheduled the opening of air services for passengers, mail and freight in the provinces of Tirol and Vorarlberg.
Otto Hummel formed a small airline company called Alpenfluggesellschaft O. Hummel und Co. with seat in Innsbruck. Any initiatives to open up international air services via Innsbruck where stopped by the Italians. According to the Peace Treaty Italy had the right to forbid flights from Germany to and from Tirol. But internal quarrelling and the prohibition by the Entente of any civil aviation in Austria made it impossible for the Tiroler Fliegerverband to start up. On January 1, 1922 nothing had started and the company was dissolved soon afterwards.
Wiener Flug-Verkehrs-gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung (1920-1922)
The Wiener Flug-Verkehrs-gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung merely existed on paper. Philip Ferber, Leo Garten-Kronau and Franz Thurner founded it on July 16, 1920 in Wien. The aim of the company was the trade in and the flying with aircraft. The stock-capital was ÖKr.900,000, divided over the three stockholders (each one-third). The Board of Directors consisted of four respectable gentlemen: Alexander Geza Fenyö (secretary-general of the Norddeutsche Lloyd in Wien), Dr Ludwig Altman (a respected lawyer from Wien), Philip Ferber (Tradesman) and Leo Garten-Kronau. On September 28, 1920 the company was registered in the Vienna Trade Register.
In accordance with the Peace Treaty of St Germain-en-Laye, Austria had to destroy all its aircraft and it was therefor impossible for the Wiener Flug-Verkehrsges.m.b.H. to get any aircraft or start any services. This led to the withdrawal of the two shareholders Philip Ferber and Franz Thuner, who sold their shares to Dr Friedrich Wagner-Jauregg (for the amount of Ökr.300,000. Dr Wagner-Jauregg was later to become the first president of the Österreichische Luftverkehrs AG – ÖLAG), to Hofrat Ing Ferdinand Deutelmoser (for ÖKr.150,000; Hofrat Ing Deutelmoser was from 1927 the managing director of the ÖLAG) and to the bank Wiener Lombard & Escompte Bank (for ÖKr.150,000). From that day (May 3, 1922) the company also changed name and was now called: Austro Lloyd Luftdienst GmbH (q.v.).
Österreichische Post-Passagier Aero-Transport Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung – OEPAT (1922)
Another paper airline company was founded in Austria. The Österreichische Post-Passagier Aero-Transport Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung – OEPAT was founded around April 1922 in Wien with a stock capital of ÖKr.1,000,000,000 by the Universal Technical Contractors Ltd. The company wanted to be the first to start air services in Austria and planned to open the following service in the summer of 1922:
- Wien – Wiener/Neustadt – Graz – Wolfsberg – Klagenfurt – Villach; and
- Wien – St. Pölten – Linz – Wels – Vöcklabruck – Salzburg – Kufstein – Schwaz – Innsbruck – Imst – Bregenz.
Beside these two national air services three international air services were suggested:
- Wien – Budapest;
- Klagenfurt – Agram – Triest; and
- Triest – Udine – Klagenfurt – Salzburg – München – Praha.
On these routes regular landings would be made at the airports of Wien, Wiener/Neustadt, Linz, Salzburg, Innsbruck, Bregenz, Graz, Klagenfurt and Villach, while at the remaining Austrian cities mailbags would be dropped out of the aircraft and taken care of by the local Post Offices. Freight and passengers could therefor only embark and disembark on places where an airfield was by hand.
Managing Director of the OEPAT was Dr A-V Coboly, while Ing Maurice A de Vos was employed as Technical Director. The OEPAT had nor any aircraft nor opened any of the above-mentioned routes. The technical base would have been at Wien (Aspern) airport, but as this airport was occupied by the Entente and could not be used by Austrians, the company was unable to start any services. Furthermore the high inflation in Austria in the beginning of the twenties made it also impossible for the company to start. The Österreichische Post-Passagier Aero-Transport Gesellschaft m.b.H. disappeared from the aviation scene in 1922.
Austro-Lloyd-Luftdienst Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung (1922-1937)
As mentioned earlier the Wiener Flug-Verkehrsgesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung changed on May 3, 1922 its name into Austro Lloyd-Luftdienst Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung. As new managing director Dr Josef Hoffman-Ostenhof was appointed. The company signed an agreement of co-operation with the German airline company Lloyd Luftdienst GmbH (Bremen, q.v.) and the Austrian company obtained the concession for the following routes: Wien – Berlin, Wien – Fürth (near Nürnberg in Germany), Wien – München, Wien – Agram, Wien – Triest and Wien – Budapest. For the operation of these air services the Austro Lloyd Luftdienst GmbH was to lease aircraft from the German mother company. But it never got that far.
At the formation on February 6, 1923, the Deutscher Aero Lloyd – DAL (q.v.) took over the shares of the Lloyd Luftdienst GmbH and became subsequently the owner of the Austro Lloyd Luftdienst GmbH (as per February 23, 1923).
But three months later the Österreichische Luftverkehrs AG – ÖLAG was founded and started in co-operation with other Trans Europa Union-members the service München – Wien – Budapest.
By 1926 the Austro Lloyd-Luftdienst GmbH had by then not yet opened any services nor possessed any aircraft, and at the formation of the German national carrier, Deutsche Luft Hansa AG, the shares of Austro Lloyd-Luftdienst GmbH were not taken over.
After some years of silence the Austrian Home Office demanded the liquidation of the company (as per June 11, 1930), because the Austro Lloyd-Luftdienst GmbH had not changed the value of its shares from the old Austrian Kroner into the new currency, Schilling (since 1925 the new currency, and by which Law of June 4, 1925 all Austrian companies had to do). It had not liquidated itself (if the currency was not changed within December 31, 1928, the company had to liquidate itself). The last managing director of the company, Alexander Fenyö, had died on June 18, 1930 and the Chamber of Commerce appointed two liquidates, who soon found out that the company did not possess any assets. The Austro Lloyd-Luftdienst GmbH was finally erased from the Trade Register on December 10, 1937.
Österreichische Fluggesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung (1922)
The Österreichische Fluggesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung was founded in 1922 by former Austrian military pilots. This company aimed to open the route Wien – Belgrado – Sofia, but even this initiative was not successful.
The only airline company to make regular flights on Wien was the Compagnie Franco-Roumaine de Navigation Aérienne – CFRNA (q.v.), which was founded as a Franco-Rumanian airline company. It opened its first service from Paris to Strasbourg on September 20, 1920, and extended it to Praha on 27 October of the same year. Wien was included in the network, when the service from Praha was extended to Wien and Budapest on May 1, 1922. CFRNA flew on Wien/Aspern – the birthplace of Austrian aviation – and no other airline company was allowed to use the facilities of the airport, i.e. if the company was German or Austrian!
But from September 14, 1922 civil aviation was again allowed in Austria, after 3 years of near silence. The first successful airline company in Austria was without doubt the Österreichische Luftverkehrs AG, (q.v.), which was founded in 1923 by Junkers Werke AG and two Austrian interests.
Austria Flug Aktien Gesellschaft (1923)
The Austria Flug Aktien Gesellschaft was founded in Wien by the famous Jakob Lohner Werke & Co. in 1923. The Austria Flug A.G. wanted to start with regular flights and hoped to be able to use its famous Lohner-flying boats. It did not manage to start up and the initiative was soon given up. The company probably did not survive the year 1923.
Rundflugunternehmen Theodor Hopfner (1924-1930?)
Born in Wien on February 28, 1901, Theodor Hopfner was among the main aircraft constructors in Austria after the Great War. His civil aircraft were very much liked, although his production never reached high figures. After the lifting of the ban on aircraft production in Austria (1922), Theodor Hopfner formed the aircraft factory Flugzeugbau Hopfner GmbH with facilities on the airport of Wien, Aspern. In 1924 the Flugzeugbau Hopfner GmbH formed a special aviation department Rundflugunternehmen Theodor Hopfner, which on July 31, 1924 was granted the permit for general and commercial aviation in Austria. In 1925 this permit was extended to include flights outside the Austrian territory.
The aviation department took over the Hopfner S.1 suited for one pilot and two passengers. This high-winged single-engine aircraft was powered by a 100 hp Fiat-Mercedes engine and had a cruising speed of 140kmh. The high wing gave the passengers a perfect view. Since April 1923 the aircraft had already made some special flights, among them one to München in Germany. The Hopfner S.1 has the honour to be the first officially registered aircraft in Austria. It was given the registration A-1. On May 8, 1923 the pilot Krieger had to make an extra-ordinary landing near Perg (Upper Austria) on his way from Wien to Nürnberg. During the landing the aircraft was damaged and had to be transport back to Wien/Aspern by car. By July it had returned into service and continued to fly for the company until it had to be written off after a severe accident on September 10, 1924. The Hopfner S.1 was succeeded by the Hopfner HV.2. Based on the principals of the S.1, the HV.2 was an enlarged version with a closed cabin for four to five passengers. The pilot had its seat aft the passenger’s cabin. As power plant, Flugzeugbau Hopfner GmbH managed to get hold of a 240 hp Hiero engine with two-bladed propeller. In 1925 and 1926 the aircraft (with the registration A-19) made numerous flights transporting some 3,000 passengers. It crashed on September 19, 1926 and was destroyed beyond repair. A replacement for the HV.2 was the newly constructed HV.327 (also known as HV.3/27), which appeared in 1927 and had similarities with the Fokker F.II and F.III. After extensive use with the aviation department, the Hopfner HV.327 was sold to Paul Hopfner and continued to fly until 1934. The fleet was expanded further with the Hopfner HV 428, which made its first flight in 1928. It was enlarged HV.327 and could carry up to five passengers. Again a 240 hp Hiero-engine was installed. It was registered A-49 (c/n 5) and entered service in July 1929. It was widely used and carried the text Wiener Rundflüge on its fuselage. After a major modification programme the aircraft received a new type number: HV.829. The engine was now one 380 hp Gnome-Rhône Jupiter V-engine, giving the aircraft considerably more power. It was sold to a private person, Max Olbrich and was still in use, as the new Air Register was implemented. It received the registration OE-DRH. Olbrich used it for joy-flying as well. But in July 1928 the successor had made its first flight, the Hopfner HS.528. It was registered A-50 and was possibly used by the aviation department for joy flying. It was registered for just one year (July 1928-June 1929). A second aircraft was built, received the registration A-60 and was used for joy-flying as well. It became later OE-DLD (by then flying for the Motorfliegergruppe Wien Nr.51). The A-50 was modified into an HS.528a and sold to Switzerland (as CH-231), while the second aircraft was sold to Switzerland as well (CH-209), but returned to Austria in 1935 as OE-DOB. The HS.528 was a two-seater, single-engine high-winged aircraft for training and sport flying activities. Over the years, the aviation department achieved good results. The following results are known for the period 1925-1930:
1925 1926 1927 1928 1930
Joy ride flights 113 168 260 85 549
Special flights 4 2 2 4 ?
Charter flights 5 15 15 77 36
Training flights ? ? ? 52 ?
Passengers 422 676 1,069 371 2,687
Flying-hours ? ? ? ? 203h 5m
Kilometres flown ? ? ? ? 26,568
It is not clear how long the Flugzeugbau Hopfner GmbH continued to operate the aviation department, but after the start of the alliance with the Hirtenberger Patronenfabrik AG for the production of trainers for the Österreichische Luftverkehrs AG – Fliegerschule Thalerhof, the company possibly had no time to use on the aviation department.
Tiroler Flugverkehrs-gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung – TFG (1925-1929)
By 1923 the position of the ÖLAG in Austria was still not a monopoly and other initiatives were started up. For example in the small village of Kirchberg in Tirol some notables under leadership of G von Dembicku (in his daily life Inspector of the Österreichische Bundesbahn (the Austrian Railway Company) in Tirol) wanted to start up an airline company and asked in November 1923 for an offer from, among other companies, Jfa for eleven landplanes and six seaplanes in addition to three aircraft for the transportation of freight. All aircraft should carry between 12-16 passengers, 300 kg cargo and flying at least 1,200 km with an average speed of 150 km/h. Jfa thanked for the request, but said it could not help Dembicku.
But the municipality of Innsbruck wanted to start up a regular air service with their neighbouring countries and other Bundesstaaten (Federal States). Therefor the Tiroler Flugverkehrs Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung – TFG was founded on March 31, 1925 with a capital stock of ÖS.100,000 divided between:
ÖS.20,000 the Bundesstaat Tirol;
ÖS.40,000 the Landesverkehrszentrale (Tourist Office of Tyrol); and
ÖS.40,000 the City of Innsbruck.
The aim of the company was to operate a service between Innsbruck and Wien in co-operation with the ÖLAG. Together with the French airline company CFRNA the municipality of Innsbruck build the airport Reichenau.
In 1926 (from November1 to 20) the ÖLAG and the TFG operated together the line Wien – Salzburg – Innsbruck. The TFG was founded to give the ÖLAG financial aid for the exploitation of the route on Innsbruck. The TFG had to subsidise the line heavily that year.
In 1927 the managing director of the Tiroler Flugverkehrs GmbH, Dr Heinrich Rohn, was elected into the Board of Directors of the ÖLAG and looked after the Tyrolean interests. By now the service was named Strecke (Air Service No.) 362, re-opened on April 19, 1927 and extended on August 4 to Konstanz in Germany. The plan was first to extend the line to the cities of Bregenz/Lindau, but this was later changed into Konstanz, because of the better connections out of Konstanz into Germany. In 1927 the TFG paid ÖS.9,860 to the ÖLAG in subsidy. In 1928 the line was extended from Innsbruck to Konstanz and Zürich between May 21 and September 10 and the ÖLAG received as much as ÖS.21,349.23 from the TFG and the city of Bregenz.
Dr Heinrich Rohn withdrew from the Board of Directors of the ÖLAG in 1930 as the Tyrolean company was dissolved in 1929. The exact date of the liquidation of the Tiroler Flugverkehrs GmbH is not known, but according to several sources, the company stopped to exist around 1929-30. The TFG had given the ÖLAG a financial hand with the exploitation of the Wien – Salzburg – Innsbruck line, which by 1929 with 1,328 passengers was the second-best service of the ÖLAG. In Kärnten another company with the same aim as the Tiroler Flugverkehrs GmbH was founded.
Kärntner Luftverkehrs Aktien Gesellschaft – KÄLUG (1925-1927)
Beside the city of Innsbruck, the city of Klagenfurt was also interested to start up regular air services on Wien and other Austrian cities. The Kärntner Luftverkehrs Aktien-Gesellschaft – KÄLUG was founded in April 1925 in Klagenfurt, Kärnten by the city of Klagenfurt (55 %), the ÖLAG (40 %) and some local banks (5 %). The lord mayor of Klagenfurt, Dipl-Ing Franz Pichler-Mahndorf, had suggested the foundation of the company and the city council agreed on it on April 21, 1925. This was followed by the foundation of the KÄLUG. On March 27, 1925 the KÄLUG received its first and only Junkers F 13, which was allotted the Austrian registration A-22 Hahn (c/n 698). The aircraft was delivered from Junkers Flugzeugwerk AG – Jfa and had previous been registered and used by the Bayerische Luft Lloyd in München. It was sold to the KÄLUG for ÖS.130,000. With this aircraft the company opened on May 17, 1925 the Klagenfurt – Graz – Wien service in co-operation with the ÖLAG. In September of that year the company could celebrate its 100th flight between the two cities and could celebrate nearly 100 % regularity. Only three flights were delayed.
In the difficult year 1926 the Klagenfurt – Graz – Wien service suffered sincerely losses. The line had to be flown with great irregularity “… and great financial sacrifices had to be made …” according to the annual report of the ÖLAG. The service was later extended to Venezia in Italy by the ÖLAG, although the Italian airline company Transadriatica S.A. had flown it since August 18, 1926.
During the year 1927 the KÄLUG was taken over by the ÖLAG and was subsequently dissolved. Dipl-Ing Franz Pichler-Mahndorf remained in the Board of Directors until 1933, with a short break in 1928 and 1929. The city of Klagenfurt did not need an airline company anymore and the ÖLAG used Klagenfurt more and more as a transit point for routes out of Austria to Italy. In the thirties a route to Salzburg across the beautiful Austrian Alps was opened as well. The Junkers F 13 was sold to the ÖLAG and handed over on May 6, 1927.
Oberösterreichische Fluggesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung (1927-1940)
The Oberösterreichische Fluggesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung was formed in the city of Linz by Johann (Hans) Wanneck, who was earlier one of the founders of the I. Oberösterreichische Luft- und Motorbootgesellschaft m.b.H. (q.v.). It was founded on June 18, 1927 with a stock-capital of ÖS.25,000 and was registered in the Trade Register of Linz on August 20, 1927. Aim of the company was joy-riding flights, charter flights, commercial flights, and such. It also prepared the foundation of a flying-school and the selling, buying and maintaining of aircraft. Managing Directors became Paul Sabitzer and the well-known pilot from Linz Johann Wanneck. On February 19, 1931 they were both replaced by Managing Director Erich Mostny.
On July 10, 1927 Johann Wanneck flew his new GMG I Roter Vogel (ex D-1224, c/n 3) from München to Linz. The Austrian registration is not known. The aircraft had a 35 hp Anzani engine (of 3 cc) and was used for training and business flights. Until October 31 of that year the aircraft made 200 flights. The aircraft and its pilot Johann Wanneck made a crash landing on May 20, 1928 near Bluman.
For the planned regular service, the company purchased in Germany a Raka RK.6, which was flown to Linz by Johann’s brother, Sylvester, on September 15, 1928. The former registration was D-1273 (c/n 55). It had a 100 hp Daimler I engine. This aircraft made two minor crashes: the first one on October 26 at Wels and the second on November 8 during a advertising flight for the Poschacher Brauerei (a brewery), near Hellmonsödt. Another accident occurred the following year when Johann Wanneck with the Katzenstein-biplane (A-66) crashed during an advertising flight for the Liesing Brauerei (a brewery) near Mauer. The aircraft was destroyed beyond repair. His brother too had with an unknown aircraft on September 11.
The final end of the Oberösterreichische Fluggesellschaft mbH came with the death of its founder, Johann Wanneck, who crashed on August 26, 1929 with his small Raka RK.6. The company had lost its biggest resource and the other shareholders decided to dissolve the company. It was officially erased from the Trade Register of Linz on February 14, 1940.
Österreichische Flugdienst Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung – ÖFG (1932)
Little is known of this company that used the Hopfner HS 1032, A-132, with one 130 hp de Havilland Gipsy III engine. The aircraft crashed at the end of 1932 at Mariezell but could be re-built. It was subsequently sold to Ileana Habsburg.