Air Berlin CEO mulls further fleet cuts
German carrier Air Berlin may ground more of its fleet than previously announced and is looking to raise prices especially for business customers, its chief executive told a German weekly, Reuters reported.
Plans to remove 14 planes or 10 percent of its fleet from service from the start of the winter season may just be a beginning, Joachim Hunold told WirtschaftsWoche in an interview published on Saturday.
"We are looking at our portfolio of routes on a daily basis," he said.
Air Berlin, Germany's second biggest carrier, plans to save more than 150 million euros ($235.5 million) by cutting unprofitable routes and improving its marketing and fleet management.
Hunold said the company had already managed to lower costs this year by almost 35 million euros.
Hunold also said Air Berlin had pushed through a price increase of 11 percent with holiday firms from the start of the winter season.
"On top of that, business travellers will have to prepare themselves for price increases," he said, adding plans to introduce a "Premium Business Class" in spring 2009 had been scrapped.
"We stopped that. We soberly analysed the situation and came to the conclusion that we would prefer to save the amount of a double-digit million sum. That's how much the investment would have cost us," Hunold said.
The CEO said he was confident that the measures implemented would have a positive impact.
"We continue to see a positive operating profit by the end of year with the efficiency programme in place and demand at the level it is now."
Air Berlin cut targets it has set itself for 2008 earnings before interest and tax two times this year.