airberlin stated (09-May-2012) following the announcement of the postponed opening of Berlin Brandenburg International Airport, it has assigned a “Tegel” Task Force to adapt the expanded flight schedule, designed for the new airport, to the conditions of the old airport, Berlin Tegel. airberlin CEO Hartmut Mehdorn, noting the challenges which now confront the airline, stated, “The situation is extremely tricky, as we have to contact at least one million passengers individually to inform them about their airport of departure or arrival. In addition, airberlin’s expanded and more ambitious flight schedule, planned for BER, now has to be handled using the old infrastructure at Tegel Airport, in the summer season, of all times". Mr Mehdorn also emphasised how important the new airport is as a hub for airberlin. “We are still looking forward to the new Berlin Brandenburg Airport, where we will be able to provide our passengers with a much improved service. But to do this, we need a new and reliable date for the opening of the airport, preferably after the end of our summer schedule.” [more - original PR]
airberlin to continue operating from Berlin Tegel amid postponed opening of Berlin Brandenburg
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airberlin restructuring: summer capacity minus 31%; long haul growth; threat of Eurowings looms
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.
Eurowings: new Munich routes outsourced to airberlin. Frankfurt hub may be next for Lufthansa's LCC
When Lufthansa began to transfer point-to-point short haul routes to its LCC Germanwings in 2013 it specifically excluded routes to/from its two main hubs at Munich and Frankfurt. Although its two main hubs have been less penetrated by LCCs than many other major European airports, this is changing. Moreover, competitor LCCs are growing rapidly across Germany and in other Lufthansa Group home markets. Even Air France-KLM established a Munich base for its LCC Transavia in summer 2016 (but this is under review). More ominously, Ryanair is to enter Frankfurt in summer 2017.
Lufthansa first revealed in summer 2016 that it was considering opening a Munich base for its LCC operations, now grouped under the Eurowings brand. On 21-Dec-2016 it announced plans to base four A320 family aircraft at Munich for 32 Eurowings routes from summer 2017.
Perhaps it was always inevitable that Eurowings would eventually extend to selected routes from Frankfurt and Munich, but agreements with pilots were understood to have limited the group's flexibility. Confirmation that the operation of Eurowings routes at Munich will be outsourced to airberlin under wet lease appears to have loosened this restriction. Eurowings routes from Frankfurt are also being considered.