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Germany

Catalonian Politician Renames Air Berlin "Air Goebbels"

A former Catalonian representative raised hackles this weekend after nicknaming the German low-cost airline Air Berlin "Air Goebbels" when they refused to introduce the Catalonian language on its Mallorca routes.

Crowds of people swimming in front of hotel

Mallorca is a favorite with German tourists

Air Berlin, which maintains over a hundred direct flights to Mallorca weekly, is the primary link to the Balearic Islands. But Joán Puig Cordón, a member of the left-nationalist party ERC, has called for a boycott of the enterprise after Air Berlin turned down its demand to include the regional language of Catalonian on its flights to the island.

On his blog Monday, Puig Cordón said the airline needed to excuse itself for this "insult." The posting follows a weekend demand that Air Berlin CEO Joachim Hunold "beg forgiveness" for this "flagrant affront." The former politician took his campaign one step further by painting a swastika over the company's logo and relabeling the airline after Hitler's propaganda minister.

"Backslide into Middle Age Provincialism"

A spokesperson for the German embassy in Madrid called the label "unacceptable."

Man in front of Air Berlin plane

Hunold criticized the request

Air Berlin's Spanish Director Alvaro Middelmann had already announced legal measures taken against the former politician after the weekend's attack.

The spat follows on an article Hunold wrote titled "Backslide into Middle Age Provincialism." In it, Hunold refers to the request from a head of the Balearic federal state government to introduce Catalonian on flights to and from Mallorca. The Air Berlin boss goes on to criticize the island for teaching Spanish as a foreign language. Catalonian, he said, "takes some getting used to, and it isn't even a language recognized worldwide."

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