Tag Archives: airberlin

LHT Embarks on Cabin Conversions

German maintenance, repair and overhaul provider Lufthansa Technik (LHT) has embarked on a programme to upgrade Airbus A320s for fellow Lufthansa offshoot Eurowings.  The initiative covers cabin conversions for 33 single-aisle jets, including A320s and A319s, being transferred from airberlin to the Düsseldorf-based low-cost carrier under a six-year wet-lease agreement.

“The modification of 33 aircraft in such a short amount of time requires intensive co-operation and great experience,” Ole Duenhaupt, Design Verification Engineer for cabin modifications at Lufthansa Technik explained.

The MRO was responsible for the design and approval of the cabin changes, which include an increase in seat pitch and the corresponding adjustment of the overhead service elements.  The company is also installing new safety belts, adapting the in-flight entertainment hardware and modifying the cabin monuments.

“The team responsible for the work, consisting of representatives from the airberlin as well as technicians from Eurowings and our engineering department, co-ordinated and completed all the required steps – from the preparation of the design documents and the planning and co-ordination of the layovers to the aircrafts’ approval and acceptance for flight operations – in the shortest time possible.  All the wheels interlocked with precision,” Duenhaupt noted.

Work on all 33 aircraft is due for completion by the end of April.

Austrian Airlines Welcomes First airberlin A320

Austrian Airlines has begun operations using the first of five Airbus A320s being wet leased from airberlin.  The jet, D-ABZA (c/n 3532), has been repainted in Austrian Airlines colours and debuted with the carrier on March 7, operating flight OS779 from Vienna to Skopje.

The second jet, D-ABZC (c/n 3502), is scheduled to enter service today (March 8), with the remaining three aircraft following between now and April.  The wet leased aircraft will be used across the Austrian Airlines network, flown by airberlin crews wearing the German carrier’s uniform.  The jets will also wear ‘Operated by airberlin’ titles.

“With the five aircraft from airberlin, we will take advantage of market opportunities to strengthen our leading position at our hub Vienna”, Austrian Airlines CEO Kay Kratky explained.  “We are proud that we are in a position to actively participate in shaping the market consolidation process.”

Thomas Winkelmann, airberlin CEO, said: “The wet lease agreement is another crucial element on the way to restructuring airberlin and we are very much looking forward to the cooperation with Austrian Airlines.”

The five wet leased aircraft takes Austrian Airlines’ fleet of Airbus A320 Family jets to 36.

All Change at airberlin

Airberlin has unveiled a bold restructuring plan intended to streamline its operation, increase profitability and deliver long-term growth.  The new strategy follows a comprehensive review of the German low-cost carrier, which is facing mounting pressure from rival operators such as easyJet, Ryanair, Wizz Air and Lufthansa’s new-look subsidiary Eurowings.

Key elements of the re-organisation include the consolidation of its two hubs at Berlin and Düsseldorf, shifting its tourist and leisure business into a separate division, refocusing its core network to “higher-yielding” markets and reducing its fleet by almost half.

Announcing the changes, airberlin CEO Stefan Pichler said: “This far-reaching restructuring of our operations is about a new focus, giving us a new future.

“Now more than ever, we are faced with significant external market pressures which dictate a change to our current complicated business model. We have sought to serve all market segments with one operating platform, covering both business and leisure travellers.

“The core airberlin proposition in future is now clear:  a dedicated focused network carrier serving higher-yielding markets from two hubs in Düsseldorf and Berlin.  A leaner, fitter, stronger airberlin has a bright future.”

Under the restructuring plan outlined in late September, the carrier will reduce its fleet to 75 aircraft – consisting of 17 Airbus A330s, 40 A320 Family aircraft and 18 Bombardier Dash 8-Q400s – by summer 2017.  This streamlining will be aided in part by an agreement to wet-lease up to 40 A320s to Lufthansa, 35 of which will join Eurowings with the remaining five destined for fellow subsidiary Austrian Airlines.

The changes will also see airberlin axe up to 1,200 positions by February through a combination of voluntary redundancies and redeployments elsewhere in the Etihad Airways Partners group, which includes Air Serbia, Air Seychelles, Alitalia, Etihad Airways, Etihad Regional and Jet Airways.

Pichler added: “Of course, we understand that redundancies are unwelcome, even in a dynamic market such as Germany.  We have to make reductions but we will aim to do so in a supportive manner, offering new opportunities to employees where possible.  We are implementing a size and structure for the business that is fit for purpose.  We will see revenues grow and costs contained as a result of this restructuring of our business.”