Air Berlin needs more of an "anti-establishment" attitude to take on bigger rivals.


New York (AirGuideBusiness - Business & Industry Features) - Wed, Sep 16, 2015 Air Berlin needs more of an "anti-establishment" attitude to take on bigger rivals, its chief executive, as the airline nears the end of a fleet review to stem losses and reduce debt after an acquisition spree. Germany's second largest airline, 29 percent owned by Etihad Airways, has made operating losses in four of the last five years. It is reviewing routes and its fleet of 140 aircraft as part of its efforts to return to profit in 2016. The airline introduced a new revenue management system this year that enables prices to be matched more closely to demand, catching up with rivals who have long had such systems. In other ways though, it is trying to set itself apart. Chief executive Stefan Pichler, who said there would be news on the capacity review in the next few weeks, said he wants to return Air Berlin to its roots. "Joachim Hunold founded Air Berlin and gave it its meaning. He positioned it as a challenger and that was fantastic," Pichler, who was appointed in February, said at the FVW travel conference in the German city of Essen. "We cannot be a smaller version of Lufthansa," Pichler said of Germany's biggest airline which has a fleet of over 600 planes across its brands. Pichler, Air Berlin's fourth chief executive in the last three years, said the airline known for giving chocolate hearts to passengers, had "lost its heart" as it bulked up to copy rivals and he...

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