Air Berlin: Master plan for airline’s turn around

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The goal of airberlin is to bring into the black the accounts of the company in 2016 – no surprise there – the year from which should start “the road to profit.” This was the announcement given by S

The goal of airberlin is to bring into the black the accounts of the company in 2016 – no surprise there – the year from which should start “the road to profit.” This was the announcement given by Stefan Pichler, CEO of airberlin, during an international press conference in Berlin, Germany.

The strategy of Mr. Pichler includes a strong orientation to the needs of the customers and to enhance and promote the competence and motivation of the employees. For the first time since he was entrusted with the position of CEO, Stefan Pichler explained his ideas for a new orientation of the German airline group.

“We are a multi-hub European airline with key advantages versus our competitors – our capability to promote the product at low cost, a benefit that we intend to further improve through the consistent management of costs; we have a market position that has further growth potential compared to catchment areas of relief; and our sales organization in the tourism sector is very strong. Last but not least, we can also count on motivated and enthusiastic employees,” stated Mr. Prichler.

“The three phases of our turnaround plan 2015-2016,” explained the CEO, “will gear on diagrams and management processes that will be analyzed and aligned; we expect a marked improvement in terms of network planning, revenue management, and sales organization. It follows a better segmentation of the market and, where necessary, its capacity adjustment. Both phases will be completed by spring 2016 to achieve a substantial improvement in the results. On this basis it will then go to the third stage, which from April 2016 will pave the way towards profitability and further expansion of the air berlin hub. All employees will be involved in the goal of profitability that will be made promptly.

“We are at present introducing a new culture of communication, thanks to the incisiveness of a medium-sized organization, will contribute to the growth of the motivation and potential.

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“Process optimization and planned investments are targeted to the increase in turnover of air berlin and creating further synergies and new revenue together with our partners. Essential component of this strategy is a new pricing model.”

New pricing model closer to the customer

On the occasion of the ITB Berlin, the leaders of the group have announced that following a thorough analysis of the market from May 5, 2015, air berlin will extend the tariff system for short and medium distance. An important new feature is especially the one-way fare “JustFly,” which does not provide free baggage, but offers a very competitive price and wider availability. This system will include in the future the four tariff brands JustFly, FlyDeal, FlyClassic, and FlyFlex, which will be adjusted even more targeted to the demands and needs of passengers.

“The feedback from our customers was clear: those who travel frequently on short distances and with only hand luggage, from now on booking with us will have even more advantages. The new rates were optimized to reach interesting target groups and will increase the attractiveness of air berlin for new passengers,” emphasized Pichler.

Improve services to customers

An important contribution to customer orientation and essential part of the focus on services is the improvement of customer service. The resources for the management of reimbursements due to flight delays or lost luggage will be tripled with major investments. Starting in June 2015, the customer will receive a first feedback within 24 hours, while the dossier will then be closed within seven days.

Another element of the focus on services will be the introduction of European customers starting in May 2015. Air berlin intends to deal regularly with travel agencies, tour operators, and corporate and private clients on products, services, and the shopping experience. The goal is greater participation of these groups in the process of innovation and improvement to enable more rapid tuning with different needs and increasing the attractiveness of services.

Focusing on tourism

Coinciding with the increase of attention on the tourist, air berlin reaffirms its important role in the market for flights from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland to Spain and Greece.

Significant expansion of seats to Italy was achieved thanks to the close cooperation with Alitalia, which provides a total of more than 700 weekly flights to Venice, Rome, and Sicily. Also in 2015, air berlin will further develop the flights from Dusseldorf and Munich directed to the Caribbean, so as to complete the tourist offering in the long run.

The comprehensive plan provides US flights to key destinations across the USA – New York, Miami, Los Angeles, and Fort Myers. Together with partner airlines, American Airlines, a member of one world alliance, air berlin offers over 2,500 weekly flights in codeshare. Then there will also be more flights to Asia and Africa for air berlin passengers via Niki and Etihad Airways, whose hub of Abu Dhabi has repeatedly met daily departures from Germany and Austria.

With an eye to tour operators that offer package tours, airberlin has created the technical requirements for quality optimization and updating of data. From this network, the carrier expects a major boost to the growth for the current year.

More news coming

Among other new features coming that stands out are: the “business benefits” for strengthening the business supply of the company; the new booking platform that will provide to companies and customers even more options; the Android app with which the user can also check in, choose, or change seats; and sending boarding passes or saving them directly to their smartphone.

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Editor in chief for eTurboNew is Linda Hohnholz. She is based in the eTN HQ in Honolulu, Hawaii.

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