Stefan Pichler set to leave the loss-making carrier, Lufthansa executive Thomas Winkelmann ‘in the wings’
German airline Air Berlin is on the verge of another change of CEO, with Stefan Pichler set to leave the loss-making carrier, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters, confirming a German newspaper report.
Pichler did not respond to an emailed request for comment. A spokesman for Air Berlin, which is part-owned by Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways, declined to comment on Saturday.
The departure of Pichler, who has been in the post only since February 2015, was first reported by German paper Bild am Sonntag.
One of the sources said Lufthansa executive Thomas Winkelmann, who used to head the carrier's Germanwings unit, is among the candidates to replace Pichler.
Air Berlin has been hurt this year by fierce competition on routes to Spain as tourists shifted from eastern Mediterranean destinations due to security fears and is now undergoing a wide-ranging restructuring that will halve the size of its fleet.
A deal to lease 38 planes and crew to Lufthansa was finalised this week, while in a separate move a further 35 aircraft will be placed into a new leisure airline joint venture.
Since the departure of founder Joachim Hunold in September 2011, Air Berlin has had three CEOs. Interim CEO Hartmut Mehdorn was replaced by Wolfgang Prock-Schauer in 2013, who was in turn succeeded by Pichler in February 2015.
It has made a net loss in almost every year since 2008, posting a profit in 2012 only thanks to the sale of its frequent flyer programme to Etihad for 185 million euros.For all the latest transport news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.