Air Berlin

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Air Berlin
Air Berlin Logo.svg
Founded 1978 (as Air Berlin USA)
Commenced operations 1979
Focus cities
Frequent-flyer program topbonus
Fleet size 141
Destinations 171
Company slogan Your Airline.
Parent company airberlin group
Etihad Airways (29.21%)
Headquarters Airport Bureau Center
Berlin, Germany
Key people Hartmut Mehdorn (Chairman) Stefan Pichler (President and CEO)
Revenue Decrease 4.15 billion (2013)[1]
Operating income Decrease -231.9 million (2013)[1]
Net income Decrease -315.5 million (2013)[1]
Total assets Decrease 1.89 billion (2013)[1]
Total equity Decrease -186.1 million (2013)[1]
Employees 8,905 (12/2013)[1]

Air Berlin PLC & Co. Luftverkehrs KG (stylized as airberlin or is Germany's second largest airline, after Lufthansa, and Europe's eighth largest airline in terms of passengers carried.[2]

Air Berlin operates an extensive network from a total of 17 German cities, including some European metropolitan and several leisure destinations in the Mediterranean region, Madeira, the Canary Islands and North Africa as well as intercontinental destinations in the Caribbean and the Americas. Its hubs are Berlin-Tegel Airport[3] and Düsseldorf Airport.

The airline is a member of the Oneworld alliance and owns the subsidiaries NIKI in Austria and Belair in Switzerland. Etihad Airways owns 29.21% of Air Berlin.[4] The airline's headquarters are at the Airport Bureau Center in Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf, Berlin.[5] Air Berlin's owner, airberlin group or Air Berlin plc, is publicly traded (FSE: AB1, ISIN is GB00B128C026). In March 2014, it had 8,694 employees.[6] Air Berlin Group carried over 31.5 million passengers in 2013.


1978-1990: American charter airline in West Berlin[edit]

Air Berlin'saircraft livery went through several design changes. The original Air Berlin USA livery (pictured) was used on the airline's first two Boeing 707s...
... and amended to include an orange tail section during the early 1980s, when the Boeing 737-200 (pictured) was the only aircraft type in the fleet.
A ruby-colored livery was introduced when the Boeing 737-300 (pictured) was put in service in 1986,...
... and remained largely unchanged for more than two decades (the later version is shown here on a Boeing 737-400 in 2004).
In 2007, the current bright red color scheme was adopted, as featured on this Airbus A321.
Original Air Berlin USA logo

Originally registered as Air Berlin USA,[7] the company was founded in 1978 as a wholly owned subsidiary of Lelco, an American agricultural enterprise headquartered in Oregon,[7] to operate charter flights on behalf of German tour operators from Berlin Tegel Airport, mostly to Mediterranean holiday resorts.[7][8] As a United States airline, Air Berlin was able to access the West Berlin airline market. During the Cold War, Berlin's special political status meant that the air corridors into and out of Tegel Airport could only be used by airlines registered in France, the United Kingdom or the United States. The airline's headquarters were initially at Tegel Airport. Leonard Lundgren was the first chairman.[7]

After the company was issued an airline licence and acquired two Boeing 707 jet airliners previously owned by Trans World Airlines, Air Berlin USA commenced revenue services on 28 April 1979 with a flight from Berlin-Tegel to Palma de Mallorca.[9][10] Plans were made to start long haul flights on West Berlin-Brussels-Florida routes,[9][11] in cooperation with Air Florida (an accordant agreement had been signed in February 1979).[12]

In 1980, the Air Berlin USA fleet grew to include the Boeing 737-200, when two aircraft of that type were leased from Air Florida.[13] By 1982, the 707s had been phased out, and during most of the 1980s, Air Berlin USA operated only a single 737-200[14] or (from 1986) a 737-300.[13][15] In 1990 and 1991, two more modern Boeing 737-400s were put into service.[8][13][16]

1990-2000: Ownership change and launch of low-cost flights[edit]

The Peaceful Revolution and the ensuing German reunification led to significant changes to the Berlin aviation market, since German airlines gained access to the city. In 1991, Air Berlin (which had 90 employees at the time)[17] was bought by Joachim Hunold (de), a former sales and marketing director with LTU International, and restructured as Air Berlin GmbH & Co. Luftverkehrs KG, a German-registered company.[10][18] Following an order for ten Boeing 737-800, Air Berlin grew and by 1999, the fleet comprised twelve aircraft.[19] In 2001, Air Berlin and Hapag-Lloyd Flug became the first airlines in the world to have their Boeing 737-800s fitted with blended winglets, wingtip devices that are intended to improve fuel efficiency.[20]

Air Berlin introduced scheduled flights (which could be booked directly with the airline rather than via a tour operator) in 1997, initially linking a number of secondary German airports to Majorca.[10] By 2002, 35 percent of Air Berlin's tickets were sold directly.[21] In the same year, the route network grew to include destinations other than typical holiday resorts: Low-fare flights to London, Barcelona, Milan and Vienna were commenced, which were marketed as City Shuttle.[10][21] Besides Berlin-Tegel, these routes were opened at six German airports (Dortmund, Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Münster/Osnabrück, Nuremberg, and Paderborn/Lippstadt)[22] that until then had not been served by one of the rising European low cost carriers.[21] In what later would become the trade mark for Air Berlin's services as a "semi-low cost carrier", the airline differentiated itself from its competitors Buzz, Hapag-Lloyd Express, Ryanair and Virgin Express by offering free on-board meals and seat reservations.[22]

2000-2006: Becoming Germany’s second largest airline[edit]

In November 2001, the delivery flight of Boeing 737-800 fitted with winglets set a record: the aircraft with the registration code D-ABBC flew 8,345 kilometres non-stop from Seattle (BFI), USA to Berlin (TXL), Germany in 9 hours, 10 minutes.

In January 2004, Air Berlin announced it would cooperate with Niki, a Vienna-based airline.[10] As part of the deal, Air Berlin took a 24% stake in Niki.

Air Berlin logo used until 2007

In 2005, Air Berlin signed a partnership agreement with Germania. Ás part of the deal, Air Berlin leased some of Germania's aircraft and crew, and Germania became almost exclusively a charter airline. Plans were made for Germania to be associated with Air Berlin under a management contract. However, the contract was not signed. At the beginning of March 2008 Germania’s joint owners could not reach agreement on the takeover by Air Berlin, so Germania remained an independent airline. A joint Air Berlin/Germania subsidiary dubbed Air Zürich and planned to be based at Zurich Airport was proposed in 2005, but did not materialize.[23]

In 2005 the Group reorganised its corporate structure. It established Air Berlin plc (registered in England) into which it reversed Air Berlin GmbH & Co. Luftverkehrs KG and subsidiaries.[24] It was suggested that the reason for the group to establish a UK-based PLC instead a German based AG was to avoid the need to have a supervisory board and employee representation as required by the German law of Mitbestimmung or co-determination.[25]

In 2006, Air Berlin successfully completed an initial public offering (IPO) on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. Originally scheduled for 5 May 2006, it was postponed until 11 May 2006. The company cited recent rises in fuel costs and other market pressures leading to limited investor demand and reduced the initial share-price range from 15.0–17.5 euros to 11.5–14.5 euros and the stock opened at €12.0, selling a total of 42.5 million shares. Of these, 19.6 million were new shares increasing capital in the company, and the remainder to repay loans extended by the original shareholders and invested in the company earlier in 2006. After the IPO, the company claimed to have over 400 million euros in cash to fund further expansion, including aircraft purchases.[26]

In August 2006, Air Berlin announced that it had acquired 100% of the shares in German domestic airline dba.[27] Flight operations at dba were continued as a fully owned subsidiary of Air Berlin until 14 November 2008, when the dba brand was discontinued due to staff strikes. (dba staff were subsequently offered positions with Air Berlin).

On 28 November 2006, aircraft manufacturer Boeing announced that Air Berlin had ordered 60 Boeing 737-800 aircraft,[28] and 15 smaller Boeing 737-700 aircraft. The combined value of the 75 aircraft was 5.1 billion dollars (Based on list prices at the time.) Delivery of the aircraft started in 2007. All of these aircraft will be equipped with blended winglets, which significantly improve fuel efficiency.

2007-2012: Takeovers, expansion and new alliances[edit]

In 2005, one of Air Berlin's Boeing 737-700s featured a special livery promoting Boeing's Dreamliner program.
Following the take-over of LTU in 2007, the Airbus A330-200 (pictured) became part of Air Berlin's fleet. This long-haul aircraft enabled the airline to start flying to intercontinental destinations like Bangkok (as in this case, depicting an approach of Suvarnabhumi Airport in 2008).

In March 2007, Air Berlin took over German leisure airline LTU, gaining access to the long-haul market and becoming the fourth largest airline group in Europe in terms of passenger traffic. This deal led to the introduction of Airbus A321 and Airbus A330 aircraft into Air Berlin's fleet. The merger of the LTU operations, aircraft and crew was completed on 1 May 2009, when the LTU brand was discontinued.

On 7 July 2007, Air Berlin announced an order for 25 modern Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner longhaul aircraft, with further options and purchase rights.[29] Three additional aircraft of this type will be leased from ILFC.

On 21 August 2007, Air Berlin acquired a 49 percent shareholding in Swiss charter airline Belair, the remainder being owned by tour operator Hotelplan.[30] Following the deal, Belair's longhaul business was shut down, and the fleet replaced by Airbus A320 family aircraft operating scheduled flights on behalf of Air Berlin as well as charter flights for Hotelplan.

On 20 September 2007, Air Berlin announced it intended to buy its direct competitor Condor in a deal that envisaged Condor's owner, Thomas Cook Group, taking a 30% stake in Air Berlin.[31] A variety of considerations, including the rapidly increasing price of jet fuel, led to the abandonment of the deal in July 2008.

In January 2008 Air Berlin introduced a new logo and corporate design. The logo is a white oval shape on a red background (suggesting an aircraft window) where the letter “a” is a white circle and two white stylised wings. The text "Air Berlin" in the logo is now in lower case and written as one word. Sometimes the slogan “Your Airline” also features as part of the logo.[32]

In June 2008, CEO Joachim Hunold offended Catalan language speakers, when he claimed[33] in an article included in Air Berlin's inflight magazine that the government of the Balearic Islands was trying to impose the use of Catalan on Air Berlin flights from and to Majorca. He claimed that Air Berlin was an international airline and was not obliged to use Catalan. Hunold went on to criticise the language policy in Catalonia and the Balearic Islands, claiming that at the time many children could not speak any Spanish.[34] The Balearic Islands' socialist President, Francesc Antich, explained that his government had simply sent a letter to encourage airlines operating in the Balearic Islands to include Catalan among the languages used for onboard announcements.[35]

On 18 June of the same year, Air Berlin announced that it would reduce its long-haul services by 13 percent, as well as cut 10 percent of services in the domestic market in an effort to increase profitability.[36]

In September 2008, Air Berlin confirmed merger talks with competitor TUIfly, but added it was speaking with all parties. Air Berlin had, until 2007, been flying many code-share TUI flights. At the end of March 2009, Air Berlin PLC and TUI Travel PLC signed a deal by which their German flight businesses were to operate long-term strategic alliance. Originally, each company was to take a 19.9% stake in the other and the German cartel authorities was petioned for approval. After the Bundeskartellamt expressed concerns, the cross ownership plan was not implemented. Instead, TUI Travel PLC purchased a 9.9% stake in Air Berlin PLC using a capital increase at a subsidiary to do so.[37]

In January 2009 Air Berlin started cooperating with Hainan Airlines, China’s fourth-largest airline. The airlines jointly market flights between Berlin and Beijing. The code-share flights are sold on a reciprocal basis and operated under the relevant airline’s own flight number.[38]

At the end of March 2009, a strategic partnership agreement with TUI Travel was signed, with Air Berlin and its direct competitor TUIfly purchasing 19.9 percent of the other's shares.[39] Following the deal, Air Berlin took over all German domestic TUIfly routes, as well as those to Italy, Croatia and Austria. Also, all of Tuifly's Boeing 737-700 aircraft were added to Air Berlin's fleet. Further route changes will see TUIfly abandoning all scheduled flights and relying exclusively on the charter business.[40]

In March 2009, ESAS Holding A.S., a Turkish company bought approximately 15 per cent of the voting shares in Air Berlin, to which the German competition regulator had no objections.[41]

On 28 September 2009, Air Berlin announced it would cooperate with Pegasus Airlines, allowing its customers access to more destinations and flights to and within Turkey on a codeshare-like basis.[42]

Also in 2009, Air Berlin added Hartmut Mehdorn to the board of directors after his retirement at Deutsche Bahn.[43]

In October 2009 Air Berlin started cooperating with Bangkok Airways. Bangkok Airways flights can be booked on a codeshare basis by Air Berlin customers.[44]

Air Berlin Group
Company Interest
airberlin technik GmbH 100 %
Binoli Reiseplattform 049 %
Belair 100 %
Niki 100 %

In April 2010 Air Berlin expanded its codeshare arrangements with Russia’s S7 Airlines. The strategic cooperation between Air Berlin and S7 Airlines had been in place since October 2008. New services include codeshare flights via Moscow to destinations such as Irkutsk, Perm and Rostov.[45]

In July 2010, Air Berlin announced an increase in its shareholding in the Austrian airline Niki. Following the fulfilment of the required conditions, the agreements notarized on 17 February 2010 have been implemented. Air Berlin indirectly acquired 25.9% of the shares in Niki from Privatstiftung Lauda (private Lauda foundation) and in doing so increased its current shareholding in Niki from 24% to 49.9%. In connection with the increase of its shareholding, Air Berlin will grant the private Lauda foundation a 40.5 million-euro loan. The private foundation has the option to repay the loan in three years with cash or through the transfer of the remaining 50.1% of Niki's shares.[46]

Since having become a member of Oneworld, several Air Berlin aircraft display the global airline alliance's logo, as seen on this Boeing 737-800.
An Airbus A319 on final approach at Zurich Airport in 2010, featuring a livery variant using the "Air Berlin" titles on the tail rather than the logo.

In July 2010, it was also announced that Air Berlin would be joining Oneworld, the global airline alliance.[47] In preparation for joining the alliance, Air Berlin has been offering flights under codeshare agreements with American Airlines and Finnair, starting with the 2010/2011 winter schedule. Its cooperation with American Airlines means that Air Berlin passengers gain access to the important American market whilst it also offers codeshare flights with Finnair to Helsinki and within Europe.[48]

Air Berlin founded Follow Me Entertainment GmbH in September 2010 as a joint venture with kick-media ag. This joint venture company markets image and sound media, books, games as well as events, concerts, tournaments and sponsoring.[49]

An Air Berlin Airbus A320 approaches Málaga Airport in 2010.

The foundations were laid for the first maintenance hangar at Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER) on 21 March 2011. Air Berlin, which will use the hangar with Germania when the airport is opened, has doubled Air Berlin Technik's maintenance capacity at its Berlin site.[50]

On 1 April 2011 Air Berlin completed integration of LTU which it took over in August 2007. There is now only one flight schedule and all Air Berlin Group technical services have been merged into a new company called airberlin technik GmbH.[51] Also in April 2011 Air Berlin underlined the importance of its Düsseldorf hub by creating a new position of North-Rhine Westphalia Regional Director. It also added new routes, more frequent flights and additional long-haul flights from Düsseldorf.[52]

On 15 June 2011, Air Berlin and British Airways reached a codeshare agreement covering some flights within Europe, starting from 5 July 2011. The agreement applies to flights to over 40 European destinations served by the two airlines.[53]

CEO Joachim Hunold resigned from his position on 1 September 2011 and was succeeded by the former CEO of Deutsche Bahn AG, Hartmut Mehdorn, who led the company on an interim basis until January 2013. From January 2013 Wolfgang Prock-Schauer took over the position of CEO.[54]

Air Berlin has cooperated with the Italian airline Meridiana Fly since September 2011, and offers flights from 30 October 2011 with Meridiana Fly from Italy to Germany.[55]

In November 2011 a new brand was launched, called Air Berlin Turkey. This product was the result of cooperation between Air Berlin and Pegasus Airlines and was intended for the charter market between Germany and Turkey. Pegasus Airlines is the largest private airline company in Turkey and is 16.5% owned by ESAS Holding AS.[56] involved in Air Berlin.[57][58] The airline was absorbed into Pegasus Airlines on 31 March 2013.[59]

In the 3rd Quarter of 2011, the turnover of the company amounted to 1.4 billion euro, representing an increase of 11%. However operating profit decreased by almost to 50%, around 97 million euro. As a result, a new bond to raise additional capital was issued.[60] In November 2011, a marketing campaign was launched and further preparations to join the oneworld airline alliance were made.[61]

In November 2011 Air Berlin took over the remaining 50.1% stake in NIKI in the repayment of a loan and is now the sole owner of the company. The brand name is to be retained, Niki Lauda was given a position on the board of Air Berlin.[62]

Air Berlin announced on 19 December 2011 that the Arabian airline Etihad Airways increased its share of Air Berlin from 2.99% to 29.1%, for 73 million euros. Etihad Airways is now the largest shareholder of the company.[63] The deal supplied more cash to Air Berlin and provided Etihad access to Air Berlin's European network.[63] The combined Etihad Airways and Air Berlin route network covers 239 destinations in 77 countries. From Berlin, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt and Munich a total of 42 flights a week to Abu Dhabi are available. Connecting flights to the Arabian Peninsula, Asia, Africa and Australia from Abu Dhabi are also available.[64]

Air Berlin became a full member of the Oneworld Alliance on 20 March 2012, a move that was originally announced on 2 February 2012. Austrian airline NIKI, which is also part of the Air Berlin group, joined Oneworld as an affiliate member on the same day.[65]

2012-2015: Restructuring[edit]

A number of Air Berlin aircraft at Terminal C of Berlin Tegel Airport in April 2012

Air Berlin has been flying seven times a week non-stop from Berlin to Abu Dhabi since January 2012. The new service is also the start of the codeshare agreement between Air Berlin and Etihad Airways.[66] The cooperation of the frequent flyer programs topbonus and Ethiad Guest was announced in March 2012.[67] In June 2012, the collaboration concluded with the bonus programs airberlin business points and Ethiad Airways Business Connect for SMBs.[68]

On 20 March 2012, the announced entry into the airline alliance oneworld was officially completed.[69] The extended international network offers over 800 destinations in 150 countries.[70] At the same time when Air Berlin joins oneworld, the airline introduces the Platinum status for its frequent flyer program topbonus.[71]

In May 2012, Air Berlin, presented its new fare structure "Your Fare" in an effort to offer individual rates for all target groups. Bookings are available for the rates "Just Fly", "Fly Classic" and "FlyFlex" for flights from 1 July 2012.[72]

On 11 May 2012 Air Berlin opened its triweekly non-stop flight from Berlin to Los Angeles in the summer schedule, a destination which until then had only been served from Düsseldorf.[73] In March 2013, the Berlin-Chicago route was commenced, feeding into American Airlines' hub at O'Hare International Airport.[74]

On 18 December 2012 Air Berlin announced that topbonus, its frequent flyer program, would be sold to Etihad Airways, only a 30 percent minority share would be kept.[75]

Air Berlin announced the expansion of the existing codeshare agreement with Etihad Airways on 20 December 2012. This includes flights via Abu Dhabi to Chengdu, Beijing, Shanghai, Tokyo and Nagoya.[76]

Air Berlin intends to move its largest hub from Tegel to Berlin Brandenburg Airport (terminal interior pictured). Originally planned for 2012, the opening of the new airport has been greatly delayed. Currently, it is considered that the airport will not open before late 2017.

In early January 2013, the first Airbus A330-200 was introduced with a new business class which enables a fully flat position for the first time. The long-haul fleet of Air Berlin has already been modified with a business class of high quality in 2012.[77]

On 7 January 2013 Air Berlin announces its new CEO. The Austrian Wolfgang Prock-Schauer, former Chief Strategy and Planning Officer spelled Hartmut Mehdorn as chief executive officer, who has held the position on an interim basis since September 2011.[78]

Furthermore, Air Berlin flies from 28 February nonstop to Madrid. As part of strategic expansion in Central Europe since March, Air Berlin flies from Berlin to Warsaw three times daily[79] and has increased its number of flights from 23 March 2013 from Berlin to Kraków at the same time.[80]

With the addition of the new and so far only connection between Berlin and Chicago from 23 March 2013 Air Berlin uses the Chicago hub for connections within the United States. In light of the transfer of capacity and focusing on core markets, Air Berlin increased their frequencies to New York-JFK, Los Angeles and Miami. Coinciding seasonal non-stop flights to Las Vegas, San Francisco and Vancouver are canceled.[81]

In March 2013 Air Berlin announced the closure of its seasonal hub for leisure destinations at Nuremberg Airport. Only ten direct routes will remain.[82]

On 24 September 2014, Air Berlin cancelled all 15 orders for their Boeing 787s as well as 18 remaining orders for Boeing 737-800s as part of their restructuring programme. It will retired all Q400 and all Boeing fleet are planned.[83]

In October 2014, the Luftfahrt-Bundesamt denied Air Berlin to operate 34 routes as a codeshare with co-owner Etihad from the 2014/2015 winter schedule as they would contravene against the bilateral traffic rights between Germany and the UAE.[84]

Also in October 2014, Air Berlin announced to terminate their flights to Palma de Mallorca from both Bremen Airport and Dortmund Airport, therefore withdrawing entirely from these two German airports.[85]

Corporate affairs[edit]

Air Berlin headquarters at the Airport Bureau Center in Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf, Berlin.


Air Berlin PLC shares are publicly traded on Xetra and on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange in the regulated market. Trading in the regulated unofficial market takes place at the exchanges in Berlin, Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Munich and Stuttgart.[86]

Since December 2011, Etihad Airways has been the largest shareholder in Air Berlin; current major shareholders (over 5%) are:[86]

Name Interest
Etihad Airways PJSC 29.21%
ESAS Holding AS (owners of Pegasus Airlines) 12.02%
Hans-Joachim Knieps 5.48%
Other shareholders 53.29%
Total 100.00%

Business trends[edit]

Stefan Pichler, CEO of Air Berlin since 2015.

The key trends for Air Berlin Group (including Niki) over recent years are shown below (as at year ending 31 December):

2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Turnover (€m) 1,575 2,537 3,401 3,240 3,850 4,227 4,312 4,147
Net Profits (€m) 40.1 21.0 −75.0 −9.5 −106.3 −420.4 6.8 −315.5
Number of employees 4,108 8,360 8,311 8,278 8,900 9,113 9,284 8,905
Number of passengers (m) 19.7 27.9 28.6 27.9 34.9 35.3 33.3 31.5
Passenger load factor (%) 75.3 77.3 78.4 77.5 76.8 84.5 83.6 84.9
Number of aircraft (at year end) 117 124 125 152 169 170 155 140
Notes/sources [87] [88] [89] [90] [91] [92] [93] [94]

Flight school[edit]

Air Berlin has been running its own pilot training scheme since 2007 in a joint venture with the TFC Käufer flight school. Trainees complete their commercial pilot training to the latest industry standards over a period of around 24 months. The Air Berlin flight school was the first flight school in Germany to be awarded a training licence by the German Department of Aviation for the new Multi-Crew Pilot Licence concept in February 2009.[95]

Technical services[edit]

airberlin technik, part of the airberlin group, is a certified EASA Part-145 maintenance organization with approximately 1200 employees providing services to both the aircraft operating within the airberlin group and customers throughout Europe. airberlin technik is recognized and approved by various National Airworthiness Authorities such as USA FAA-145, Canadian CAA-145, Aruba EASA-145, Federal Aviation Authority of Russia, GCAA, United Arab Emirates.[96]

Passenger services[edit]

In contrast to pure European low-cost carriers, Air Berlin offers free (at the point of consumption) in-flight snacks and drinks, as well as newspapers and magazines. Full hot meals are complimentary on long-haul flights. On all Air Berlin routes with a flight time of 60 minutes or longer, gourmet meals are offered, which are, according to the airline, created by chefs at "Sansibar", a famous restaurant on the island of Sylt. The airline also offers in-flight entertainment, assigned seating and guaranteed flight connections.[97] On flights operated by Airbus A330-200 aircraft, a dedicated business class section is offered.[98]

Frequent flyer programme[edit]

Like many other airlines, Air Berlin has a frequent flyer scheme. Air Berlin's frequent flyer program (called topbonus) is operated jointly with Niki. Points (“miles”) can be collected on all flights, and these can be redeemed later for free flights (award flights) or for an upgrade to business class. In addition to the entry-level "topbonus Card Classic" there are cards with Silver, Gold, and Platinum status, corresponding to oneworld ruby, sapphire, and emerald levels. A Service Card and a Credit Card, for which a charge is made, are also available.


The airline operates an extensive semi-low-cost network including intercontinental destinations in the United States, the Caribbean and the South East Asia as well as holiday destinations in the Mediterranean region, the Canary Islands and North Africa, with a total of 150 scheduled destinations in 40 countries. Berlin and Düsseldorf are the key hubs of Air Berlin with offers of long-haul flights and connections within Europe.

Codeshare agreements[edit]

Air Berlin maintains codeshare agreements with the following airlines as of December 2014:


Current fleet[edit]

As of March 2015, the Air Berlin fleet consists of the following aircraft:[104][105][106][107]

Air Berlin fleet
Aircraft In Service Orders Options Passengers Notes
C Y Total
Airbus A319-100 11 4 0 150 150 3 operated by Belair
Airbus A320-200 38 12 0 180 180 6 operated by Belair
Airbus A321-200 16 14 0 210 210 All orders to be equipped with sharklets, deliveries until 2015. 5 other to leased from UTair Aviation
Airbus A330-200 14 1 19 279 298
Boeing 737-700 10 0 144 144 5 leased from TUIfly, 2 leased from Germania
Boeing 737-800 28 2 0 0 186 186 3 painted in Oneworld. 3 leased from TUIfly, 2 on order still in question
Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 16 0 76 76 All operated by LGW
Total 138 38 10

Fleet development[edit]

The Airbus A330-300 was the largest aircraft operated by Air Berlin. Taken over from LTU in 2008, these airliners had a capacity of 387 passengers in an all-economy class layout,[13] and were used mostly on holiday routes to the Mediterranean.
Between 2004 and 2009, Air Berlin operated the Fokker 100. Most of these airplanes were leased from Germania.[13]

Over the years, Air Berlin has operated the following aircraft types:[108]

Air Berlin fleet development
Aircraft Introduced Retired Notes
Airbus A319
4 overwing window exits instead of the A319's usual 2
Airbus A320
Airbus A321
following the LTU fleet incorporation
Airbus A330-200
following the LTU fleet incorporation
Airbus A330-300
following the LTU fleet incorporation
BAe 146-200
leased from WDL Aviation
Boeing 707
Air Berlin USA
Boeing 737-200
Air Berlin USA
Boeing 737-300
Air Berlin USA
Boeing 737-400
Boeing 737-700
Boeing 737-800
Bombardier Dash 8 Q400
operated by LGW
Embraer 190
transferred from Niki and back to them, operated by LGW
Fokker 100

Fleet policy[edit]

The average age of the fleet is currently 5 years.

In May 2001 Air Berlin was the world's first airline to take delivery of a Boeing 737-800 retrofitted with the Aviation Partners Incorporated (API) blended, fuel-saving winglets; most of Air Berlin's fleet have now been fitted with this equipment.

In 2012 Air Berlin announced that it had brought its average specific fuel consumption to 3.4 litres/100 passengers-kilometres.[93]

On 26 March 2013, the Air Berlin group announced that it received one of the first Airbus A320 equipped with fuel-saving sharklets at the Airbus factory in Hamburg.[109]

In late October 2014 Air Berlin group announced to move from a mixed Boeing 737/Airbus A320 family fleet to an all-A320 family narrowbody fleet.[110] The occurring gap of 45 narrowbody airplanes will therefore be filled as followed; 14 airplanes will be transferred within the Etihad Equity Alliance from Alitalia and its subsidiaries, 10 airplanes will be new deliveries from Airbus and for the remaining 21 a solution still has to be found.[111]


Cabin view of an Air Berlin Airbus A319.

In February 2011 Air Berlin took delivery of its first Boeing 737-800 featuring the new "Sky Interior" cabin design. All new Boeing Next Generation aircraft operated by Air Berlin will in future include this improved interior, with its newly designed side wall and baggage compartments, large window niches and indirect LED lighting.[112]

At the beginning of 2012, Air Berlin started the modification of its long-haul cabin, equipping both economy class and business class with new seats and a new in-flight entertainment system. Fully automatic seats that can tilt up to 170 degrees provide high comfort in the business class, in addition to an anti-thrombosis edition and an individually adjustable headrest, and more legroom, narrower seat back, the seat improves comfort in economy class. All places have their own 8.9-inch monitor that is easy to use per touch screen and offers a variety of movies, series, music, audio books and games.[113] In January 2013 airberlin presented its new business class. Primarily, the new business class has single seats, thus offering travellers even more privacy. The new seats have a full-flat function, a massage function and feature a 15-inch monitor. The Air Berlin long-haul fleet will be equipped with the new Business Class successively.[77]


  • 2008: Capital magazine: “Airline of the Year 2008”, Telegraph Travel Award, World Travel Award 2008[114] Best Budget Airline[115]
  • 2009:European Business Award 2009, oekom research: Award for “Prime” investment status[114]
  • 2010: Business Travel Award 2010,[116] ReiseBlick 2010: Airline of the Year, Spain Tourism Award 2010,[114] Clever reisen! 2010: "Europe’s youngest fleet", Skytrax World Airline Award 2010: "Best Low-Cost Airline Europe", Franz-von-Mendelssohn medal, Danish Travel Award : "Best Low Cost Airline"[114]
  • 2011: TravelPlus Airline Amenity Bag Awards, Brand Award 2011, ÖkoGlobe 2011[114]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Annual Report 2013 - Financial Figures". Air Berlin. Retrieved 2014-04-21. 
  2. ^ airberlin Strategy and Business Model. Air Berlin, retrieved on 19 January 2011.
  3. ^ "Berlin Tegel still Air Berlin’s #1 base". Retrieved 2012-03-28. 
  4. ^ "Annual Report 2012 - Financial Figures". Air Berlin. Retrieved 2013-10-09. 
  5. ^ "Approach map." Air Berlin. Retrieved on 5 May 2010.
  6. ^ "Air Berlin PLC Interim Financial Report Q1 2014". 
  7. ^ a b c d "World Airline Directory: Air Berlin USA". Flight International: 272. 26 July 1980. Retrieved 28 August 2013. 
  8. ^ a b "World Airline Directory: Air Berlin". Flight International: 49. 27 March 1991. Retrieved 28 August 2013. 
  9. ^ a b "World Airline Directory: Air Berlin". Flight International: 1332. 28 April 1979. Retrieved 28 August 2013. 
  10. ^ a b c d e "Out into the world from Berlin: The history of airberlin in a nutshell". Air Berlin. Retrieved 28 August 2013. 
  11. ^ "1981 timetable of Air Berlin USA". Air Berlin USA. Retrieved 28 August 2013. 
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External links[edit]

Media related to Air Berlin at Wikimedia Commons