Air Berlin will continue to adapt its route network by focusing on increased efficiency and further reducing seasonal effects. This strategic focus on increased efficiency is accompanied by a focus on the core markets Germany, Austria and Switzerland, the carrier told. The network changes see an increase in flights on further routes, such as the transatlantic routes from Dusseldorf to the hubs of its oneworld® partner American Airlines. From these hubs, airberlin guests have in turn access to connecting flights to around 60 additional destinations throughout North America. Furthermore, flights to the hub of airberlin’s partner Etihad Airways in Abu Dhabi will offer passengers a better network to the Eastern hemisphere. Alongside the expansion of key destinations the restructuring of the network was also planned in order to achieve a targeted tuning of schedules for non-profitable and highly seasonal routes.
Wolfgang Prock-Schauer, Chief Executive Officer of airberlin, said: „We have restructured our route network, strengthening our core markets and eliminating loss-making routes. Our strategy is to serve the key markets with higher frequency and to be a strong competitor on these routes. This network review has led to a system-wide capacity reduction of 5 percent. We build on our market leadership in Berlin, Dusseldorf and Palma de Mallorca and our strong position in other key destinations in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. This means that we can also offer business travellers a more consistent schedule all year round.”
„As the largest tourist carrier in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, we also offer our passengers flights to key touristic destinations in the Mediterranean, Canary Islands and Caribbean, and maintain our position as the market leader in this segment,“ he added.
The tourism segment reinforces the market leadership
For winter 2014/15, expansion will be seen on the Morocco programme, for instance, in form of more weekly flights to Agadir and a new destination, Marrakech, both served from key airports in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. With up to 318 weekly flights from 16 airports in Germany, Austria and Switzerland to a total of 19 destinations in summer 2015 Greece is of key importance for airberlin’s route network.
This winter, airberlin will fly 26 times a week to destinations in the Caribbean thus adding an increase of four weekly flights to its long-haul touristic routes. In summer 2015, airberlin will also increase its frequencies compared to the previous summer with an additional flight from Dusseldorf to Varadero in Cuba.
During peak season in summer 2015, airberlin will operate up to 430 weekly flights from 23 airports in Germany, Austria and Switzerland to Mallorca and is the largest carrier to serve Europe’s most significant holiday airport. Departures from smaller airports to touristic destinations will, in part, be reduced. This applies to airports such as Bremen and Dortmund.
More long-haul flights from Dusseldorf
As a result of this network optimisation, Dusseldorf airport will play an even more important role as a long-haul hub. As early as this winter, there will be daily non-stop flights from Dusseldorf to New York, and from summer 2015, the number of weekly flights will increase to 14. From next summer, airberlin will also fly to Los Angeles more frequently, offering a total of six instead of four weekly flights to the West Coast. Starting this winter, airberlin will also increase the number of European city connections, for example with more frequent flights to Rome, Salzburg and Zurich.
Berlin remains the primary hub but with tighter schedule
Berlin-Tegel airport is a central element of airberlin’s network strategy. By increasing the number of flights to New York (once daily) and Chicago (six per week) from winter 2015/16, airberlin will provide a constant year-round schedule, an offer that will appeal to business travellers in particular. The doubling of the frequencies to Abu Dhabi to two daily flights is particularly important, as well, and allows passengers to use Abu Dhabi as a gateway to fly to prime Asian and Australian destinations. To further strengthen its position in German domestic travel, airberlin is also increasing the number of flights from Berlin to Frankfurt from this winter on and will connect the German capital with the city on the Main River with 48 weekly flights. airberlin will no longer serve the non-profitable destinations of Barcelona and Oslo from winter 2014/15. In addition, from May 2015 Miami will no longer be served non-stop from Berlin-Tegel and will instead be connected to the German capital with a daily service via Dusseldorf.
Switching airport operations to Milan-Linate and agreement with Alitalia
The new codeshare agreement between airberlin and Alitalia means that airberlin will in future offer passengers even more flights from Berlin to Milan, further strengthening its position in the Italian market. From as early as 26 October 2014, guests flying into Milan with the airberlin group will also benefit from the change of airport from Milan-Malpensa to Milan-Linate, which is only 20 minutes away from the city centre and a significant hub for Alitalia. From this date, the three daily airberlin flights from Dusseldorf and the two daily flights from Berlin-Tegel will fly into Linate. This also applies to the three daily flights of Austrian airline NIKI, which is part of the airberlin group.
Comprehensive range of Asian destinations through the partnership with Etihad Airways
Co-operation with equity and codeshare partner Etihad Airways is another key aspect of airberlin’s network strategy. The networks of both partners are optimally matched and allow airberlin passengers to access the extensive range of flights offered by Etihad Airways to Asia, Australia, to the Indian subcontinent, as well as to further destinations in the Gulf region. For example, destinations in Asian countries such as China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand or Vietnam are already easy to reach with a simple connecting flight via Abu Dhabi.
The continuous enhancement of the flights from Germany to Abu Dhabi, and as of this winter for the first time also from Austria, will give passengers even more opportunities to take advantage of the extensive connecting network of the partner airline. The further expansion of the routes to Abu Dhabi will begin with the launch of a second daily connection between Berlin and the Emirate from 26 October 2014. This provides ideal connecting opportunities to 43 destinations in the Etihad Airways’ network. From 1 December 2014, airberlin will also launch a daily service between Stuttgart and Abu Dhabi. The new route is the first non-stop service between the state capital of Baden-Württemberg and the Emirate. Also new from 24 November 2014: a daily non-stop flight from Vienna to Abu Dhabi. As NIKI’s first long-haul flight, this route is of paramount importance for the airline’s network.
More sunshine destinations from Austria and Switzerland
As part of the on-going network optimisation, there will be further adjustments of the European city routes from Vienna. With the start of the 2014/15 winter schedule, NIKI will therefore no longer be offering flights from Vienna to Frankfurt and from Vienna to Copenhagen. From the beginning of 2015, flights from Vienna to Moscow will also no longer be operated. In return, the touristic expertise of NIKI will be enhanced with additional flights to Greece, Italy, Spain as well as Cyprus. Well-connected transfers allow passengers from Germany, Austria and Switzerland and further essential European metropolises to easily connect to the touristic network of NIKI. The airline will offer flights to touristic destinations from five Austrian airports (Graz, Innsbruck, Linz, Salzburg, Vienna). Greece in particular remains a strategic element of NIKI’s route network, and will further enjoy stable service in 2015. A new addition to NIKI’s route network from Vienna, alongside the daily flight to Abu Dhabi which will already start this winter, comes in the form of two weekly flights to Alicante on Spain’s Costa Blanca as well as to Catania in Sicily as of summer 2015.
In Zurich, airberlin will continue to focus on increasing flights to Germany and Austria, and on strengthening the touristic segment. There will be more flights to Berlin, Dusseldorf, Vienna and Palma de Mallorca, for example. From summer 2015, a new twice-weekly service will be offered to Faro. In total, airberlin will therefore record 9 percent more flights at Zurich in 2015 than the previous year.