airberlin restructuring: summer capacity minus 31%; long haul growth; threat of Eurowings looms

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The main elements of Air Berlin Group's latest restructuring are taking shape. In Feb-2017, 38 of its aircraft began a wet lease agreement to operate on behalf of the Lufthansa Group. On 26-Mar-2017, the majority of airberlin's tourist routes were reassigned to NIKI, prior to the transfer of its Austrian subsidiary to a new airline that will also include TUIfly and be part owned by Etihad. This leaves the core "new" airberlin airline to focus on developing its network operation from its hubs in Duesseldorf and Berlin.

Data from OAG for the summer 2017 schedule show that airberlin's total seat numbers will be reduced by 31% versus last summer, focusing on Europe, mainly due to these actions. On long haul, however, airberlin's US seat capacity will grow by 57% this summer, with four new routes. On routes to Latin America, airberlin's growth of recent years has been halted by a more intense competitive landscape. Lufthansa's low cost subsidiary Eurowings has grown rapidly to destinations served by airberlin in Latin America.

Eurowings is also now turning its attention to the US. They operate from different German airports, but Eurowings could become a growing thorn in airberlin's side.

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