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Business

Air Berlin seeks fresh savings amid industry gloom

German budget carrier Air Berlin is stepping up efforts to regain profitability with a new restructuring program. The plan seeks to reduce fixed costs and comes on top of existing cost-cutting measures.

Air Berlin's new program, dubbed "Turbine 2013," aims to achieve profitability for Germany's second biggest airline after five years of losses.

"The effort seeks to streamline internal structures and processes with the aim of reducing costs significantly," the airline announced in a statement released Thursday.

The statement didn't specify the volume of the cost-cutting measures. But a report for the German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung said the airline was seeking to save more than 100 million euros ($131 million) annually.

Under an existing restructuring plan called "Shape & Size," the struggling airline is already attempting to cut costs by 230 million euros this year - an effort described by Air Berlin chief executive Hartmut Mehdorn as making better progress than expected.

The new drive must be seen as complementary, according to the company, and comes in response to a worsening airline sector, a weaker euro and lower consumption on the back of growing economic uncertainty.

Air Berlin last saw a net profit in 2007, and saw its losses increase in the second quarter of this year. However, the outlook for next year might improve after the company announced this month that it would enter into alliances with the Franco-Dutch Air France-KLM and the state-backed Gulf carrier Etihad.

uhe/pfd ( Reuters, AFP, DAPD, dpa)

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