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Air Berlin
IATA
AB
ICAO
BER
Callsign
AIR BERLIN
Founded 1978 (as Air Berlin USA)
Hubs
Focus cities
Frequent flyer program topbonus
Fleet size 145 (+111 orders)
Destinations national and international
Company slogan Your Airline.
Headquarters Berlin, Germany
Key people Joachim Hunold (CEO)
Elke Schütt (CCO)
Karl F. Lotz (COO)
Ulf Hüttmeyer (CFO)
Wolfgang Kurth (CMO)
Website airberlin.com
Air Berlin headquarters: Building 2 of the Airport Bureau Center in Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf, Berlin
Original Air Berlin USA logo
Air Berlin logo used until 2007
Gathered fleet at Berlin-Tegel Airport
Air Berlin introduced the current livery (seen here on a Boeing 737-700) in 2007.
As seen on this Airbus A319, some aircraft taken over from LTU and Germania were painted in an interim livery.
A Boeing 737-800 in the livery used until 2007.

Air Berlin PLC & Co. Luftverkehrs KG (stylized as airberlin or airberlin.com) is Germany's second largest airline, after Lufthansa.[1] The airline operates an extensive semi-low-cost network including holiday destinations in the Mediterranean region, the Canary Islands and North Africa as well as intercontinental destinations in South East Asia, the Caribbean and the United States. Air Berlin concentrates on serving major German and European cities to attract business traffic. A total of 23 German cities are served, more than any other airline. The airline is headquartered in Berlin. Its largest hub is Berlin-Tegel Airport. Other hub airports are Dusseldorf Airport, Nuremberg Airport and Son Sant Joan Airport, Palma.

Air Berlin's parent company, Air Berlin Group or Air Berlin PLC, is publicly traded (FSE: AB1, ISIN is GB00B128C026).[2] In February 2010, it had 8,200 employees.[3] The airline (including subsidiaries) carried 27.9 million passengers in 2009 [4]. In January 2010 Air Berlin's fleet, including those of its subsidiaries, consisted of 146 operational aircraft.

Contents

History

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1978-1989

In 1978, former Pan Am pilot Kim Lundgren and former Modern Air Transport general manager John D. MacDonald formed Air Berlin as a US supplemental carrier and incorporated it under the name Air Berlin, Inc. in Oregon, USA, trading as Air Berlin USA and headquartered in Miami, Florida. This was due to West Berlin's special legal status during the Cold War era (8 April 1945 - 2 October 1990), which meant that all air traffic to and from the city was restricted to 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 (pilots, flight engineers and navigators), on these flights through the Allied air corridors had to be citizens of one of these states.[5]

Air Berlin's first revenue flight (from Berlin to Palma de Mallorca) took place on 28 April 1979, with its first aircraft being a Boeing 707-320, which had been acquired from TWA.[6] Operating from Berlin-Tegel Airport, the airline was assigned to fulfill lucrative charter contracts operating a series of short to medium-haul IT charter flights to the Mediterranean and the Canary Islands on behalf of Berliner Flug Ring, at that time West Berlin's leading package tour operator.[7] Air Berlin had taken over this contract from Aeroamerica, another US supplemental carrier, which was based at Berlin Tegel from 1974 to 1979.[7] Additionally, Air Berlin operated weekly scheduled service from Tegel via Brussels to Orlando, during a brief period in the early 1980s.[8]

In the spring of 1981, Air Berlin's original two Boeing 707 aircraft were replaced by the more modern Boeing 737-200 Adv type, which was more appropriate for the airline's IT operations from Berlin to the Mediterranean region, especially to Majorca (where it is now the largest airline operating there).[9]

In 1985, Air Berlin moved its headquarteres to Berlin.[10] Air Berlin transitioned to a fleet entirely composed of brand-new Boeing 737-300 and 737-400 aircraft during the late 1980s.[11] This coincided with the introduction of a new livery, which remained relatively unchanged until 2007.[11]

1990-1999

On 2 October 1990, the eve of Germany's reunification (which led to the end of Berlin's special status), the airline was renamed Air Berlin, and German investors acquired a majority stake in the company with Joachim Hunold, a former LTU manager, becoming CEO, a position he still holds. Some time later, on 16 April 1991, the airline was re-registered under German law and renamed Air Berlin GmbH & Co. Luftverkehrs KG.[12][12][13] Air Berlin joined IATA, the company also moved away from from charters and moved towards scheduled flights, including important European business centres (which had been served since 1997).

2000-2009

In January 2004, Air Berlin announced in would cooperate with Niki, a Vienna-based airline.[12] As part of the deal, Air Berlin took a 24% stake in Niki.

In 2005, a partnership agreement with Germania was signed. It saw Air Berlin leasing some of Germania's aircraft and crew, and Germania became almost exclusively a charter airline. Germania was to have been associated with Air Berlin under a management contract. However, the contract was not signed. At the beginning of March 2008 Germania’s joint owners could not reach agreement about the takeover by Air Berlin, so Germania remained an independent airline.

In 2006, Air Berlin successfully completed an initial public offering (IPO) on 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 Euros to 11.5-14.5 Euros and the stock opened at €12.0, selling a total of 42.5 million shares. Of these, 19.6 million were new shares increasing capital in the company, and the remainder to repay 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.[14]

In August 2006, Air Berlin announced that it had acquired 100% of the shares in German domestic airline dba[15] Flight operations at dba were continued as a fully owned subsidiary of Air Berlin until 14 November 2008, when the dba brand was discontinued due to staff strikes. (dba staff were subsequently offered positions with Air Berlin).

On 28 November 2006, aircraft manufacturer Boeing announced an Air Berlin order of 60 Boeing 737-800 aircraft, as well as for 15 aircraft of the smaller Boeing 737-700 variant. The combined value of these 75 airplanes would be 5.1 billion Dollars at then list prices. Delivery started in 2007.[16] All of these aircraft will be equipped with blended winglets, which significantly improve fuel efficiency.

In March 2007, Air Berlin took over German leisure airline LTU, thereby gaining access to the long-haul market and becoming the fourth largest airline group in Europe in terms of passenger traffic. This deal lead to the introduction of Airbus A321 and Airbus A330 aircraft into the Air Berlin fleet. The merger of the LTU operations, aircraft and crew was completed on May 1, 2009, when the LTU brand was dicontinued.

On 7 July 2007, Air Berlin announced an order for 25 modern Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner longhaul aircraft, with further options and purchase rights.[17]. Three additional aircraft of this type will be leased from ILFC. Entry into service is projected for 2011.

On 21 August 2007, Air Berlin acquired a 49 percent shareholding in Swiss charter airline Belair, the remainder being owned by tour operator Hotelplan.[18] Following the deal, Belair's longhaul business was shut down, and the fleet replaced by Airbus A320 family aircraft operating scheduled flights on behalf of Air Berlin as well as charter flights for Hotelplan.

On 20 September 2007, Air Berlin announced it intended to buy its direct competitor Condor in a deal that saw Condor's owner, the Thomas Cook Group, taking a 30% stake in Air Berlin.[19] A variety of considerations, including the rapidly increasing price of jet fuel, led to the abandonment of the deal in July 2008.

In January 2008 Air Berlin introduced a new logo together with a new corporate design. The logo is a white oval shape on a red background (to suggest an aircraft window) where the letter “a” is depicted by a white circle and two white stylised wings. The Air Berlin text element is now in lower case and written as one word. Sometimes the slogan “Your Airline” also features as part of the logo.

In June 2008, CEO Joachim Hunold caused a quarrel with the Catalan People, when he claimed [20] in an article included in Air Berlin's inflight magazine that the government of the Balearic Islands was trying to impose the use of Catalan onboard of Air Berlin flights from and to Majorca. He claimed that Air Berlin was an international airline and therefore would not have to use Catalan. Hunold went on to criticise the language policy in Catalonia and the Balearic Islands, claiming that at the time many children could not speak any Spanish.[21] Hunold's remarks were not well received in the Balearic Islands and Catalonia where his views were considered supremacist.[citation needed] 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 used for onboard announcements.[22] On 18 June of the same year, Air Berlin announced that it would reduce its long-haul services by 13 percent, as well as cut 10 percent of services on the domestic market in an effort to increase profitability.[23]

At the end of March 2009, a strategic partnership agreement with TUI Travel was signed, which is based on a cross ownership of Air Berlin and its direct competitor TUIfly each purchases 9.9 percent of the other's shares.[24] Following this deal, Air Berlin took over all German domestic TUIfly routes, as well as those to Italy, Croatia and Austria. Also, all of Tuifly's Boeing 737-700 aircraft were merged into Air Berlin's fleet. Further route shifts will see TUIfly abandoning all scheduled flights and relying exclusively on the charter business.[25]

On 28 September 2009, Air Berlin announced it would cooperate with Pegasus Airlines, thus allowing its customers access to more destinations and flights to and within Turkey on a codeshare-like basis.[26]

Services

In contrast to pure European low-cost carriers like Ryanair or easyJet, Air Berlin offers free (at the point of consumption) in-flight snacks and drinks. Full meals are available for purchase on short haul flights longer than 90 minutes, on flights over six hours they are complimentary. One can order gourmet meals, which are, according to the airline, created by chefs at "Sansibar", a famous restaurant on the island of Sylt.[27][28] The airline also offers free newspapers,[29] assigned seating[30], and guaranteed flight connections.[31] On flights operated by Airbus A330-200 aircraft, a dedicated business class section is offered.

topbonus

Like many other airlines, Air Berlin has a frequent flyer scheme. Air Berlin's frequent flyer program (called topbonus) is operated jointly with Niki. Points (“miles”) can be collected on all flights, and these can be redeemed later for free flights (award flights) or for an upgrade to business class. In addition to the “topbonus Card Classic” there are cards with Silver and Gold status. A Service Card, for which a charge is made, available.

Destinations

Codeshare agreements

Air Berlin has codeshare agreements with the following airlines:

Fleet

Air Berlin Boeing B737-700 in special Dreamliner livery.
Air Berlin Airbus A320 in the old livery
Air Berlin Airbus A321
Air Berlin Dash 8
Air Berlin Airbus A330-300
Air Berlin took over some Fokker 100 aircraft from Germania and dba, which were operated from 2004 to 2009, until being replaced by Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 aircraft.

The Air Berlin fleet consists of the following aircraft (at 5 February 2010): [32]

Air Berlin Fleet
Aircraft In Fleet Orders Options Passengers
(Business/Economy)
Notes
Airbus A319-100 16 0 0 150 (0/150)
Airbus A320-200 33 0 0 174 (0/174) 5 operated by Belair Airlines
Airbus A321-200 8 0 0 210 (0/210)
Airbus A330-200 10 0 0 303 (24/279)
Airbus A330-300 3 0 0 387 (0/387) To be replaced by Boeing 787
Boeing 737-300 2 0 0 136 (0/136) Operated by Germania
Boeing 737-700 27 32 0 144 (0/144) 6 operated by Germania
11 operated by TUIfly
Boeing 737-800 36 59 0 186 (0/186) 2 operated by TUIfly
Boeing 787-8 0 15 5 TBA Entry into service: 2015
Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 10 0 0 76 (0/76) Operated by LGW
Total 145 106 5 Last updated: 5 February 2010

In February 2010, the average age of the Air Berlin fleet (excluding aircraft leased to LGW/Belair or operated by Germania/TUIfly) is 5,5 years.[33]

Fleet history

Over the years, Air Berlin operated the following aircraft types:[34]

Air Berlin Past Fleet
Aircraft Introduced Retired Notes
Airbus A319 2006
Airbus A320 2005
Airbus A321 2008 following the LTU fleet incorporation
Airbus A330-200 2008 following the LTU fleet incorporation
Airbus A330-300 2008 following the LTU fleet incorporation
BAe 146-200 2003 2004
Boeing 707 1978 1981 Air Berlin USA
Boeing 737-200 1980 1986 Air Berlin USA
Boeing 737-300 1986
2007
1990
[]
Air Berlin USA
[]
Boeing 737-400 1990 2007
Boeing 737-700 2003
Boeing 737-800 1998
Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 2008 operated by LGW
Fokker 100 2004 2009

Record flight

In November 2001, when taking delivery of a brand new Boeing 737-800 fitted with winglets, Air Berlin managed to set a record. The aircraft with the registration code D-ABBC flew the 8,345 kilometres non-stop from Seattle (USA) to Berlin in 9 hours 10 minutes.

Awards

  • Survey conducted among Capital magazine readers: “Airline of the Year 2008”. Air Berlin is voted top low-cost airline.
  • In 2008, for the fourth year in succession, Air Berlin won awards in the Low-Cost Airline and Charter Airline categories from travelchannel.de, a website.
  • Telegraph Travel Award 2008: Air Berlin was voted the best Low-Cost Airline for the second year running.
  • World Travel Award 2008: Air Berlin was voted the best Budget Airline for the second consecutive year.[35]
  • Skytrax World Airline Award 2009: Air Berlin voted best Low-Cost Airline in Europe. In addition the airline won an award in the regional category of "Best Low-Cost Airline in Central and Northern Europe”.
  • European Business Award 2009: Air Berlin won the European Business Award for its customer friendliness.[36]
  • oekom research 2009: Air Berlin awarded “Prime” investment status by the sustainability rating undertaken by oekom research AG.
  • Business Travel Award 2010: Air Berlin voted "Best Short-Haul Airline".[37]
  • ReiseBlick 2010: Air Berlin voted Airline of the Year for the third time in the "Short-Haul” category.

Incidents and accidents

Since its foundation in 1978, Air Berlin has not had any accidents resulting in hull-loss of aircraft or fatalities.

Notes

  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Investor Relations Page on airberlin.com
  3. ^ [2]
  4. ^ Air Berlin reveals 2009 passenger numbers
  5. ^ Berlin Airport Company, Monthly Timetable Booklets for Berlin Tempelhof and Berlin Tegel Airports, Berlin Airport Company, West Berlin, various editions April 1968 - October 1990
  6. ^ [3]
  7. ^ a b Berlin Airport Company, April 1979 Monthly Timetable Booklet for Berlin Tempelhof and Berlin Tegel Airports, Berlin Airport Company, West Berlin, 1979
  8. ^ Berlin Airport Company, April 1980 Monthly Timetable Booklet for Berlin Tempelhof and Berlin Tegel Airports, Berlin Airport Company, West Berlin, 1980
  9. ^ Berlin Airport Company, April 1981 Monthly Timetable Booklet for Berlin Tempelhof and Berlin Tegel Airports, Berlin Airport Company, West Berlin, 1981
  10. ^ "World Airline Directory." Flight International. March 30, 1985. 34." Retrieved on August 21, 2009.
  11. ^ a b Berlin Airport Company, April 1989 Monthly Timetable Booklet for Berlin Tempelhof and Berlin Tegel Airports, Berlin Airport Company, West Berlin, 1989
  12. ^ a b c airberlin.com:History
  13. ^ "World Airline Directory 1979". Flight International. March 1979. 
  14. ^ Repricing of IPO
  15. ^ Air Berlin acquires dba
  16. ^ [4]
  17. ^ Boeing: Boeing, Air Berlin Announce Order for 25 787 Dreamliners
  18. ^ David Kaminski-Morrow (2007-04-03). "Air Berlin LTU move driven by access to Düsseldorf". Flight International: p. 9. 
  19. ^ "Air Berlin seeks to buy Condor, give T. Cook stake" Reuters, Frankfurt, 20-Sept-2007.
  20. ^ Air Berlin Magazine(German)
  21. ^ Vilaweb, 5 June 2008.(Catalan)
  22. ^ Vilaweb, 6 June 2008.(Catalan)
  23. ^ [5]
  24. ^ TUI Travel PLC and Air Berlin seal strategic alliance for their German flight business
  25. ^ http://www.airberlin.com/site/pressnews_dr.php?ID=1540&LANG=eng Air berlin information on the taking over of TUIfly routes. Retrieved 2009-10-31.
  26. ^ Air Berlin announces cooperation with Pegasus Airlines. Retrieved 2010-01-24.
  27. ^ "Gourmet Meals." Air Berlin. Accessed 26 October 2008.
  28. ^ "Service on board." Air Berlin. Accessed 26 October 2008.
  29. ^ airberlin.com:Onboard Service
  30. ^ airberlin.com:Seating
  31. ^ airberlin.com:topbonus
  32. ^ ch-aviation.ch: Air Berlin Fleet Retrieved 2010-02-10
  33. ^ [6]
  34. ^ Air Berlin historic fleet list at airfleets.net. Retrieved 2009-11-20.
  35. ^ [7], World Travel Awards
  36. ^ 2009 European Business Awards Winners, European Business Awards, 7. April 2009
  37. ^ [8]

References

  • Berlin Airport Company - Monthly Timetable Booklet for Berlin Tempelhof and Berlin Tegel Airports, several issues (German language edition only), 1968-1992. West Berlin, Germany: Berlin Airport Company. 
  • Flight International. Sutton, UK: Reed Business Information. ISSN 0015-3710.  (various backdated issues relating to Air Berlin, 1979–2007)

External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

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