- Air Berlin
airline = Air Berlin
image_size = 250
IATA = AB
ICAO = BER
callsign = AIR BERLIN
founded = 1978
Berlin-Tegel Airport Düsseldorf International Airport Nuremberg Airport Munich Airport Son Sant Joan Airport
Zürich Airport Hamburg Airport Hanover/Langenhagen International Airport
fleet_size = 130 (+155 orders, 10 options) incl. LTU jets
destinations = 79
key_people = Joachim Hunold (
Elke Schütt (
Karl F. Lotz (
Ulf Hüttmeyer (
Wolfgang Kurth (
website = http://www.airberlin.com/
Air Berlin PLC & Co. Luftverkehrs KG (FSE: [http://ipo.airberlin.com/boersenkurs.php?lang=en AB1] ) is
Germany's second largest airline after Lufthansa. [http://www.amadeus.com/amadeus/x64105.html] It is based in Berlin, Germany, and operates extensive semi-low-cost services to holiday destinations on the Mediterranean, the Canary Islandsand North Africa, as well as to major cities in Europefrom 20 German airports. Its main base is Berlin-Tegel International Airport, with hubs at Düsseldorf International Airport, Nuremberg Airportand Son Sant Joan Airport, Palmacite news | title= Directory: World Airlines | work= Flight International| page= 53 | date= 2007-03-27] .
Air Berlin is
publicly traded( ticker symbolis AB1, ISINis GB00B128C026) [ [http://ipo.airberlin.com/start.php?lang=en airberlin.com:Investor Relations] ] . It has 8,400 employees (at March 2008). The airline carried over 28.2 million passengers in 2007.
In 1978 a former
Pan Amcaptain formed Air Berlin as a US supplemental carrier and incorporated it under the name Air Berlin, Inc. in Oregon, USA. Air Berlin traded as Air Berlin USA until the end of the Cold Waron October 2, 1990. [http://www.airberlin.com/site/abouthistory.php?LANG=eng airberlin.com:History] ] [cite news | title= World Airline Directory 1979 | work= Flight International|date=March 1979] West Berlin's special political status during the Cold War era (April 8, 1945 - October 2, 1990) meant that all air traffic to and from the Western half of Germany's divided former and present capital was restricted to the airlines of the three Western victorious powers of World War II, i.e. only those headquartered in the US, UK and France. In addition, all flightdeck crew, i.e. pilots, flight engineers and navigators, flying aircraft into and out of West Berlin through the Allied air corridors were required to hold American, British or French passports. ["Berlin Airport Company, Monthly Timetable Booklets for Berlin Tempelhof and Berlin Tegel Airports", Berlin Airport Company, West Berlin, various editions April 1968 - October 1990]
The newly formed airline's first aircraft was a
Boeing 707-331, which it had acquired second-hand from TWA. [http://www.airliners.net/open.file?id=1052363&size=L&width=1024&height=735&sok=&photo_nr=] This aircraft was stationed at Berlin's Tegel Airport. It was assigned to fulfill a lucrative charter contract to operate a series of short- to medium-haul IT charter flights to the Mediterranean and the Canary Islands on behalf of Berliner Flug Ring, at the time West Berlin's leading package touroperator."Berlin Airport Company, April 1979 Monthly Timetable Booklet for Berlin Tempelhof and Berlin Tegel Airports", Berlin Airport Company, West Berlin, 1979] Air Berlin had taken over this contract from Aeroamerica, another US supplemental carrier, which had been based at Berlin Tegel from 1974 until 1979. In addition to operating inclusive tour (IT) charter flights from Berlin Tegel under contract to Berliner Flug Ring, Air Berlin also operated a weekly scheduled service from Tegel via Brusselsto Orlando, Florida, USA, for a brief period during the early 1980s. ["Berlin Airport Company, April 1980 Monthly Timetable Booklet for Berlin Tempelhof and Berlin Tegel Airports", Berlin Airport Company, West Berlin, 1980]
Air Berlin initially augmented its fleet through the acquisition of additional, second-hand Boeing 707s. These were replaced with more modern, second-hand
Boeing 737-200 "Advanced", which were more appropriate for the airline's IT operations from Berlin, from the spring of 1981. ["Berlin Airport Company, April 1981 Monthly Timetable Booklet for Berlin Tempelhof and Berlin Tegel Airports", Berlin Airport Company, West Berlin, 1981]
Eventually, Air Berlin transitioned to a fleet entirely composed of brand-new Boeing 737-300/400s during the late 1980s."Berlin Airport Company, April 1989 Monthly Timetable Booklet for Berlin Tempelhof and Berlin Tegel Airports", Berlin Airport Company, West Berlin, 1989] This coincided with the introduction of a new
Following Germany's reunification on October 3, 1990, German investors acquired a majority stake in the company and Joachim Hunold, a former LTU manager, became the
CEO. The airline was re-registered under German law and renamed Air Berlin GmbH & Co. Luftverkehrs KG. The airline joined IATA and started scheduled flights to European businesscapitals, such as London, Zurich, Viennaand Barcelonain 1997. In January 2004, Air Berlin announced cooperation with former Formula Onedriver Niki Lauda's newly founded airline Niki and took a 24% stake in Niki..In 2006, Air Berlin successfully completed an initial public offeringon the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. Originally scheduled for 5 May 2006, it was postponed until 11 May 2006; the company cited recent rises in fuel costs and other market pressures leading to limited of investor demand and reduced the initial share-price range from €15.0-17.5 to €11.5-14.5 and the stock opened at €12.0. 42.5 million shares were sold in the IPO. Of this, 19.6 million were new shares increasing capital in the company, and the remainder to replay loans extended by the original shareholders and invested in the company earlier in 2006. After the IPO, the company claimed to have over €400 million Euros in cash to fund further expansion, including aircraft purchases. [ [http://www.forbes.com/home/feeds/afx/2006/05/05/afx2724067.html Repricing of IPO] ]
Later in 2006 Air Berlin announced that it had acquired 100% of the shares in
dba[ [http://www.airberlin.com/site/pressreleases_dr.php?LANG=eng&BROWSER=&ID=674 Air Berlin acquires dba] ] and in August 2006, the acquisition was formally completed. In March 2007, Air Berlin took over German charter airline LTU International, thereby creating the fourth largest airline group in Europe(in terms of passenger traffic), carrying 22.1 million passengers in 2006. At the same time, Air Berlin acquired a 49% shareholding in Swiss airline Belair owned by tour operator Hotelplan.cite news | author= David Kaminski-Morrow | title= Air Berlin LTU move driven by access to Düsseldorf | work= Flight International| page= 9 | date= 2007-04-03]
In 2007, a new livery was brought in first shown on
Airbus A319. [" [http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/2007/08/29/216355/picture-air-berlin-unveils-its-new-livery-with-an-airbus-a319.html Air Berlin unveils its new livery with an Airbus A319] " Flight Global, 29/08/07]
On 20 September 2007, Air Berlin announced that it would acquire its competitor
Condor Airlinesin a deal that would give Thomas Cook a 30% stake in Air Berlin. [" [http://investing.reuters.co.uk/news/articleinvesting.aspx?type=mergersNews&storyID=2007-09-20T064735Z_01_L20712876_RTRIDST_0_AIRBERLIN-THOMASCOOK-UPDATE-1.XML Air Berlin seeks to buy Condor, give T. Cook stake] " Reuters, Frankfurt, 20-Sept-2007.] A variety of considerations, including the rapidly increasing price of jet fuel, led to the abandonment of the deal in July 2008.
In June 2008, Air Berlin's CEO,
Joachim Hunold, claimed in an op-ed [ [http://www.vilaweb.cat/media/attach/vwedts/docs/airberlin.pdf Air Berlin Magazine] de icon] in Air Berlin Magazine that the government of the Balearic Islandswas trying to impose the use of Catalan in their flights from and to Majorca. He said that Air Berlin is an International airline and therefore does not have to use Catalan language, which he described in a derogatory way. Hunold went on to criticise the language policy in Cataloniaand the Balearic Islands, claiming erroneously that today many children cannot speak Spanish. [ [http://www.vilaweb.cat/www/noticia?p_idcmp=2884638 Vilaweb, 5 June 2008.] ca icon] Hunold's remarks were not well received in the Balearic Islands and Catalonia where his views, such as his preference for "imperial" languages, have been considered supremacist. The Balearic Islands' socialist President, Francesc Antich, explained that his Government had simply sent a letter to encourage airlines operating in the Balearic Islands to include Catalan among the languages they use with their customers, whether that be through staff training or recorded announcements as used by other airlines, and offering them support in doing so. [ [http://www.vilaweb.cat/www/noticia?p_idcmp=2884866 Vilaweb, 6 June 2008.] ca icon] The Catalan language is used to some extent by several other international airlines, including Easyjet, Ryanairand American Airlines, as can be seen on their respective web pages. As a result of Humbold's comments, FC Barcelonarefused to use an Air Berlin plane to fly to the United States for their 2008 pre-season tour.
On June 18, 2008 [http://www.iii.co.uk/news/?type=afxnews&articleid=6768708&subject=companies&action=article] , Air Berlin announced that they would be permanently grounding 14 short-haul aircraft and reducing recently launched long-haul services in an effort to increase profitability throughout the network. This would effectively reduce cut overall flight capacity by 10 percent, although long-haul flight capacity would be cut by 30 percent. In addition, it was announced that Cape Town, Windhoek and Bangkok flights would be reduced, while flights to Miami, Cancun and Montego Bay would be increased.
Air Berlin does not operate with a pure low-cost carrier model: most notably, instead of just point-to-point service, Air Berlin offers guaranteed connections via its hubs. The airline also offers services including inflight meals and drinks, [ [http://www.airberlin.com/site/gourmetmenue.php?LANG=eng airberlin.com:Gourmet Meals] ] newspapers on board, [ [http://www.airberlin.com/site/sboden.php?LANG=eng#316 airberlin.com:Onboard Service] ] assigned seating [ [http://www.airberlin.com/site/sboden.php?LANG=eng#288 airberlin.com:Seating] ] and a
frequent flyer program. [ [http://www.airberlin.com/site/sboden.php?LANG=eng#301 airberlin.com:topbonus] ] As such, Air Berlin's model follows that of US low-cost carriers rather than European ones.
As of 10 September 2008, the average age of the Air Berlin fleet is 6.9 years ( [http://www.airfleets.net/ageflotte/Air%20Berlin.htm] ).
On November 28, 2006,
Boeingannounced that Air Berlin intended to purchase 60 Boeing Next-Generation 737-800and also identified an order placed earlier in 2006 for 15 Boeing 737-700aircraft. The combined value of the 75 airplanes would be $5.1 billion at list prices. Apparently, Air Berlin also has 10 unfilled 737-700s from a dba order announced in 2005. Air Berlin expects to take delivery of a total of 85 737s, starting in November 2007. [http://news.blogs.inforefinery.com/index.php/2006/11/28/air-berlin-places-57-billion-boeing-order/] All 85 737s will be equipped with blended winglets, which significantly improve fuel efficiency.
On July 7, 2007, Air Berlin announced an order for 25
Boeing 787-8Dreamliners with options and purchase rights for more. [ [http://www.boeing.com/news/releases/2007/q3/070707c_nr.html Boeing: Boeing, Air Berlin Announce Order for 25 787 Dreamliners ] ] . Three more B787-8 will be leased from ILFC and will start its service in 2011.
*cite journal| title=Flight International | publisher=Reed Business Information | place=Sutton, UK | issn= 0015-3710 (various backdated issues relating to Air Berlin, 1979-2007)
* [http://www.airberlin.com/ Air Berlin]
* [http://www.ch-aviation.ch/aircraft.php?search=set&airline=AB&al_op=1 Air Berlin Fleet]
* [http://ir.airberlin.com/ Air Berlin: Investor Relations]
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