By Andy Sambidge
CEO Stefan Pichler announces details of three-phase plan to return German carrier to profitability in 2016
Air Berlin, Germany's second largest airline in which Etihad Airways holds a 29 percent stake, on Tuesday announced a new turnaround plan which aims to return the carrier to profitability in 2016.
Air Berlin will align itself more closely to the needs of its customers and capitalise on the skills, the experience and motivation of its employees, CEO Stefan Pichler said.
The turnaround plan will be implemented in three phases, with the first phase seeing an analysis of the management structures and processes. It will also include the launch of a new fares pricing concept for all short and medium haul routes from May 5.
Significant improvements are expected in network planning, revenue management and sales, Pichler said in a statement.
The second phase will follow with improved market segmentation and capacity adjustment where needed. These two phases will need to be completed by spring 2016 in order to regain profitability, he added.
This will lead into the third phase, due to start in April 2016 when Air Berlin will look to expand its footprint in Europe.
Pichler said: “Our company strategy is clear: we are a European multi-hub airline with four major advantages over our competition.
"We produce with lower unit costs than other network carriers, a lead we want to further extend by consistent revenue management; we have a strong touristic sales organisation; we have an expandable position in strong catchment areas and we can count on our employees and their loyalty and excitement."
The CEO added that a new culture of communication is currently being established in the company, aimed at gathering all ideas and talents in order to drive the change.
“We need mutual trust, teamwork, resilience, a sense of responsibility and energy at all levels. We need to promote talent beyond hierarchies. We must be aware of our situation and have the courage to act swiftly," said Pichler.