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Business

Air Berlin struggling to fly out of negative territory

Air Berlin has announced additional savings measures to help it return to profit. But reports that Berlin's new international airport may be delayed yet again is bad news for the struggling carrier.

Germany 's second largest carrier Air Berlin , announced it would sell passenger aircraft from its fleet to increase its core capital and enhance the company's liquidity reserves.

Presenting its earnings report for the first half of the year, Lufthansa's number-one domestic rival said it hoped to end 2012 with more equity capital than it had towards the end of 2011.

It announced it had succeeded in adding 60 million euros ($73.96 million) more in July alone.

The carrier said it was aiming to become profitable again in 2013, after sinking into negative territory after the company's expansion drive in 2007.

Hopes pinned on new airport

For the time being though, Air Berlin is struggling to compensate negative earnings effects stemming primarily from soaring fuel prices. Second-quarter net losses amounted to 66.2 million euros, up from 43.9 million euros in the same period last year.

Second quarter revenue increased by 1.7 percent to reach 1.13 billion euros. Air Berlin Chief Executive Hartmut Mehdorn said ticket prices were likely to rise in the months ahead.

The carrier would be negatively affected by yet another delay of Berlin 's new international airport, with reports spreading on Tuesday that the October 2013 opening date might not be kept.

Air Berlin plans to use the new airport to expand into more lucrative intercontinental flights.

hg/jlw (Reuters, dpa)