Germany′s Air Berlin flies out of turbulence zone | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 15.11.2012
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Germany's Air Berlin flies out of turbulence zone

Germany's second-largest carrier, Air Berlin, has posted a huge jump in earnings amid ongoing endeavors to make the airline leaner. Several cost-cutting programs are under way to leave unprofitability behind.

Lufthansa's biggest domestic rival, Air Berlin, on Thursday announced a marked rise in profit for the third quarter of this year. The airline said it was able to more than double its earnings from July to September.

The German carrier logged a net profit of 66.6 million euros ($85 million), up from 30.2 million euros in the third quarter of last year. Revenues rose by 1.4 percent to total 1.4 billion euros.

Air Berlin Chief Executive Hartmut Mehdorn said the positive results came on the back of harsh cost-saving measures across all segments.

"We're on the right path, but the journey has not yet come to an end," Mehdorn said in a statement.

Multi-layer streamlining

Mehdorn said the company aimed to post full-year profits as of next year, after having incurred losses since 2008. A first restructuring scheme called "Shape & Size" had helped Air Berlin save 170 million euros in the first nine months of the year.

But an additional cost-cutting program has already been announced to lead to additional savings of 60 million euros in the course of 2012.

"We're currently scrutinizing our structures and workflows with a view to identifying additional savings potential," Mehdorn commented, while not confirming media reports that up to 900 jobs would be at stake.

Air Berlin said it was planning to sell the majority share of its frequent flyer program called "Topbonus." It added that the transaction would be completed by the end of the year to give the carrier an additional financial boost.

hg/kms (dpa, Reuters, AFP)