airberlin announced (19-Sep-2012) plans to strengthen its management structure and streamline the operation of the airline's board. Wolfgang Prock-Schauer will join the airline as chief strategy and network planning officer (CSPO) effective 01-Oct-2012. airberlin's chief human resources officer will join the airline's management board. airberlin also announced the restructuring of its management board which will see its size reduced from 15 to 10. airberlin CFO Ulf Hüttmeyer, CCO Paul Gregorowitsch and COO Helmut Himmelreich will relinquish their positions on the board, however, will remain in their positions at the airline. Non-executive board members Peter Oberegger and Saad Hammad will also step down from the board. airberlin CEO Hartmut Mehdorn will remain on the airline's board. airberlin board chairman Hans-Joachim Körber said, "We have made positive progress but there is still a great deal more to be achieved to meet our strategic commercial objectives. The Board and management team are more committed than ever to maintaining the momentum of our 'Shape and Size' Program, which is expected to deliver better results in the third quarter." [more - original PR - airberlin] [more - original PR - German] [more - original PR - German II]
airberlin streamlines management and board structure
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Airberlin: airline's latest, more radical, restructuring gets help from TUIFly and Lufthansa
Airberlin's operations are to be split into three. First, there will be a core network airline with hubs in Berlin and Duesseldorf, deploying approximately half the current Air Berlin Group fleet. Second, there are plans for a new leisure airline, combining part of airberlin's fleet with TUIFly. Third, a significant part of airberlin's fleet will be wet-leased to the Lufthansa Group.
As a result of these moves the operating fleet of the core airberlin network airline will slip from second to third in Germany and risks becoming subscale. Eurowings will rise from third to second, and the expanded new TUIFly will go from fifth to fourth (overtaking Thomas Cook Group's Condor).
For several years airberlin has been unable to break the cycle of losses and successive restructuring initiatives, in spite of repeated bailouts from airberlin's 29% shareholder Etihad. A number of details are still to be clarified. These include the detailed route networks for the different operators, the network airline's strategy for feed, and the balance of charter versus scheduled flights in the new leisure airline. However, for now and with help from competitors and Etihad, airberlin looks to have ensured at least some kind of future.
Lufthansa to complete takeover of Brussels Airlines for possible integration into Eurowings
Lufthansa's supervisory board has approved the exercise of its call option to buy the remaining 55% of SN Airholding, the parent company of Brussels Airlines. Lufthansa acquired 45% of the company in 2009 and negotiated the option to buy the balance of the shares for no more than EUR250 million. The deal is expected to close in early 2017, once the details of the purchase have been agreed with the other SN Airholding shareholders.
Lufthansa and Brussels Airlines have an extensive codeshare agreement and are partners in the Star Alliance. Their existing relationship is such that Brussels Airlines already feels like a member of the Lufthansa Group. The main draw for Lufthansa has always been its Belgian partner's extensive African network (it is the number two airline on Western Europe-Central/Western Africa).
However, it now seems that Lufthansa will, at least partly, integrate Brussels Airlines into its Eurowings low cost brand. Lufthansa is keen to accelerate Eurowings' expansion through partners (and is also to wet-lease up to 35 aircraft from airberlin). Brussels Airlines' fleet and single-class configuration on short/medium haul should fit with Eurowings, but its unit cost and network airline business model are not characteristic of an LCC.