Air Berlin to change network, sell frequent flyer

Airline to better align with Etihad and oneworld partners

Air Berlin is planning to boost earnings for 2012 with a fourth-quarter sale of a majority stake in its frequent flyer program, topbonus. As the carrier’s CEO Hartmut Mehdorn put it, “We have decided to migrate topbonus into a new entity and sell the majority of it.” The topbonus program has more than 3 million members and 120 partners.
Air Berlin has also revealed plans to change its network to better align it with part-owner Etihad Airways and oneworld alliance partners such as American Airlines.
It will restructure its North America network, starting a new non-stop Berlin Tegel-Chicago route and boosting frequencies to JFK, Los Angeles and Miami, while replacing seasonal flights from Dusseldorf to LA, San Francisco and Vancouver with a codeshare with American.
It will “weed out” low-frequency routes, for example to Barcelona, Madrid and Santiago de Compostela via Majorca. But it will add capacity to Palma de Mallorca, Egypt, Spain, Turkey and to Greek holiday destinations.