2008-06-22 - Air Berlin efficiency driveAir Berlin launches efficiency program
Sparprogramm bei Air Berlin<br /> In order to absorb part of the increased kerosene cost, Air Berlin PLC has designed a cost reduction package to be implemented at the start of the winter flight schedule. The program comprises capacity reductions as well as organizational measures.
Instead of having 134 airplanes in service, as originally planned, only 120 are to remain in service at the end of the year. Nevertheless, as CEO Joachim Hunold stated in Berlin on Wednesday, the fact that Air Berlin aims to increase its fleet capacity utilization does not necessarily entail a reduction in the anticipated number of passengers transported.
With the beginning of the winter flight schedule, Air Berlin aims to remove 14 short- and medium-distance planes from service, in particular older models that have an especially high fuel consumption per seat kilometer. Of the long-distance planes, four wide-body jet airliners of the type Airbus A330 will be removed from service. Three of these 330-300s will be put into service on medium-distance flights, mainly departing from the Nuremberg hub. The fourth Airbus A330 will serve as a stand-in for scheduled maintenance intervals and will also be used for shuttling passengers to cruise departure ports all over the world.
The flight connections to Beijing and Shanghai, which were inaugurated on 1 May 2008, will be suspended over the winter of 2008/2009. The main reason is the as yet unresolved issue of overflight rights over Russia. "If we were required to fly via the longer southern route, it would no longer be competitive, seeing the current price of kerosene," commented Air Berlin's CEO Joachim Hunold. He also pointed out that the more stringent visa regulations implemented by China in the run-up to the Olympic Games did not exactly make travel to China more appealing. A potential reinstatement of these flight connections by the summer of 2009 will be decided, if and when new circumstances warrant it.
The flight connections from Düsseldorf to New York will be suspended over the winter. Moreover, the number of flights to Cape Town, Windhoek and Bangkok will be reduced during the winter season. Flights to Mauritius and Sri Lanka will also be suspended.