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Air Berlin celebrates 30 years

17th March 2009 - 09:45 GMT | by The Shephard News Team


Air Berlin, Germany's second largest airline, will be present at the ITB (International Tourism Exchange) in Berlin to launch a new concept for its stand on the occasion of the company’s 30th anniversary, together with a completely revised frequent flyer scheme, the topbonus programme.

On 28th April 1979 178 passengers were flown on board a Boeing 707 from Berlin to Palma de Mallorca. Six days earlier American pilot Kim Lundgren had received his licence for “Air Berlin Inc” from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the US.

The German Air Berlin was set up as “Air Berlin GmbH & Co. Luftverkehrs KG” on 16th April 1991 and Joachim Hunold was appointed managing partner. Under his leadership the company developed to become Germany’s second largest airline and the fifth largest in Europe. Now Air Berlin operates 125 planes and flies to 127 destinations worldwide. The fleet has an average age of 4.6 years, which makes it one of the youngest in Europe. Furthermore, the airline regularly gains awards for service and quality.

As a company with an outstanding price-performance ratio and perfect service, Air Berlin was successfully floated on the stock exchange in 2006 and has systematically expanded and optimised its route network with carefully selected acquisitions. In Germany the range of flights is nationwide, while in Europe the route network includes major cities and holiday resorts.

The long-haul flights, predominantly to tourist resorts, are available from Düsseldorf and Munich. In its 30th year of business, Air Berlin has become one of the major airlines for people travelling on business and for pleasure in Europe. The airline employs more than 8,000 people who are all motivated by our aim to improve the service we offer our passengers each day.

Air Berlin will be launching a new stand concept in hall 9 at the ITB and an improved topbonus frequent flyer scheme. The airline has completely revised its topbonus programme so that flying with Air Berlin is now even more comfortable and attractive.

From 1st April 2009 topbonus members will collect up to 300 per cent more status and award miles on flights with Air Berlin and NIKI. The entry level to the airline’s frequent flyer scheme, which has a total of 1.7 million members, is the topbonus Card Classic. The award miles collected can be redeemed for free flights worldwide or for an upgrade to Business Class. The monthly bargain tickets are new.

A new element for status customers is “My Route”. Members can earn double award miles on their favourite route within Europe. The benefits available with Silver and Gold status are particularly interesting for business travellers, as they offer a faster and more relaxed procedure prior to boarding. With the new Air Berlin Visa Card, which is replacing the Air Berlin MasterCard from May onwards, members can collect topbonus award miles every time they use their card. For further information please visit our website at

On its 30th anniversary the airline is opening the doors of a celebratory calendar on its home page, From 11th March to 9th April 2009 Air Berlin customers can expect a special offer each day to surprise destinations in Germany, Europe, Thailand and Egypt.

At weekends there will also be special draws featuring exclusive prizes. During the special offer period passengers will be able to book 2 for 1 tickets to the destination selected for that day. The anniversary offer is now available for booking online ( and via travel agents.

At the ITB press conference on Wednesday CEO Joachim Hunold affirmed the airline’s intention to investigate a possible sale of the airline LTU and to take such action, if appropriate, in view of the challenging macroeconomic situation, the unacceptable demands of the pilots’ pay commission and the inflexible attitude of VC, the pilots’ union. “This does not mean reversing the acquisition of LTU,” said Hunold.

The pilots’ union declared that the first round of pay talks in the middle of February had broken down, even though the chief negotiator for the Air Berlin Group had offered the safeguarding of cockpit jobs until the end of 2010, a salary increase of 3.5 per cent, and the option to negotiate the retirement provisions for Air Berlin pilots.

The platform of demands put forward by the pilots’ union was “in no way economically in keeping with the times” according to the CEO, who referred to the airline’s successful growth over the past 30 years: “The decisive reason for our success as a service provider to date is and remains the motivation of our employees. We have fostered sustained co-operation based on mutual confidence with our staff. And that is how we want to continue to run the business successfully,” said Hunold.

“The extensive catalogue of demands put on the table by the pilots’ union would place quite an unreasonable strain on the company, which is why we must scrutinise everything.” The cost structures of this production platform are now being examined to see whether they are reasonable as far as the Air Berlin Group is concerned, given current and anticipated basic economic conditions.

The Shephard News Team


The Shephard News Team

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