Air Berlin turns Berlin into a hub

Expansion of hub structures and range of connecting flights / Berlin Airports forecasts a record 22 million passengers / Largest summer flight schedule ever with 166 destinations / New long-haul route to Casablanca / Capital Airport goes into operation on 2011
Christoph Debus, Chief Commercial Officer of Air Berlin, announced this morning at Berlin Airports’ traditional ITB press conference that Air Berlin would be increasing its commitments at Berlin Airports as of the summer flight schedule: “2010 will see Air Berlin turn Berlin into a hub, thus laying the foundations for future growth and positioning ourselves in good time for BBI.”

In six waves per day, with up to 22 aircraft, Air Berlin will offer more than 6,000 weekly flights to and from Berlin. The airline is also adding nine new destinations from Berlin-Tegel and nine from Berlin-Schoenefeld to the summer flight schedule.

Dr. Rainer Schwarz, CEO of Berlin Airports: “We welcome Air Berlin’s decision to expand its range of connecting flights. The new hub represents a key strategic decision, especially in light of the opening of BBI next year.”

Berlin Airports expects to set passenger record

The impact of the additional flights offered by Air Berlin is directly reflected in Berlin Airports’ passenger forecasts for 2010. “We will set a new passenger record this year and expect to pass the 22 million mark for the first time”, said Schwarz.

In 2009, 20.97 million passengers took off from the Berlin airports. CEO of Berlin Airports, Schwarz: “We have managed to keep passenger figures at a significant high, despite the financial crisis. In 2009, passengers figures were down just two per cent on the previous year yet much better than the average commercial airport in Germany for the seventh year in a row. The Berlin market has proven to be particularly robust. A combination of low-cost airlines, holiday airlines and traditional airlines as well as the magnetic effect of the capital Berlin make Berlin Airports less susceptible to external crises.”

Historical comparison of double-digit growth

Berlin Airports has also managed to increase Berlin’s share of the German air traffic market considerably in recent years to 11.6 per cent. Compared to 2006, the number of passengers flying via Frankfurt Airport dropped by 3.6 per cent in 2009, while passenger figures rose by 6.3 per cent in Munich and 7.3 per cent in Düsseldorf in the same period. With 13.4 per cent more passengers between 2006 and 2009, Berlin Airports is the only airport to have achieved double-digit growth. “A historical comparison clearly shows Berlin Airports in the race to catch up. We clearly take the lead over all major commercial airports in Germany in terms of passenger growth”, said Schwarz.

A comparison of the percentage of direct traffic (O&D) with transfer passengers at major German commercial airports is also revealing. With 20.63 million passengers flying direct, Berlin is slightly behind Munich Airport, which recorded 20.81 million. The percentage of transfers on the other hand is currently just 1.7 per cent. According to Schwarz, “These figures put into perspective the rumour that there is insufficient economic potential in Berlin. The basis for direct traffic is good. Together with strong airline partners, we aim to double the percentage of transfers at BBI.”

Four per cent growth at the beginning of the year

The first steps towards setting a new passenger record have already been taken, for the trend in traffic figures has developed positively at the beginning of 2010, despite strikes by Lufthansa and easyJet. Passenger figures in the first two months rose by a total of 4.2 per cent. 1.4 million passengers were recorded in February at the Berlin airports, 2.7 per cent more than in the same month the previous year. Passenger figures rose by 0.9 per cent at Tegel Airport and 6.4 per cent at Schoenefeld Airport. Flight movements at both airports together rose by 0.9 per cent, while air freight flown increased by 34.6 per cent to 1,720 tons. “We have almost reached the level of 2008 again, which was booming before the financial crisis hit. With Air Berlin’s new hub and additional flights in the summer flight schedule as of late March 2010, the Berlin airports will accelerate growth again”, said Schwarz

Largest summer flight schedule ever

With 166 destinations in 2010, Berlin Airports’ summer flight schedule has never before included so many destinations. Airlines are offering 29 new flights, 11 of which will depart from Berlin-Tegel, 18 from Berlin-Schoenefeld. The European network will thus be more tightly knit. Domestic traffic will also increase, thanks to numerous additions to existing connections, including flights to Frankfurt, Stuttgart and Saarbrücken. A new long-haul flight from Berlin will feature in the summer flight schedule. The Royal Air Maroc will operate three flights per week from Tegel to Casablanca. Other long-haul flights will be offered to New York, Beijing, Doha, Bangkok, Phuket, Punta Cana, Puerto Plata, Varadero and Ulan Bator. “The range of flights offered by Berlin Airports will further improve, mainly due to the increased commitment of Air Berlin, plus the new long-haul flight to Casablanca and new routes offered by easyJet and Ryanair. Bremenfly, Blue One and Condor are, however, also adding new destinations to the flight schedule”, said CEO of Berlin Airports, Schwarz.

Construction work on BBI on schedule

Since the groundbreaking ceremony on 5 September 2006, construction work on the new Capital Airport is progressing very nicely. “Despite the harsh winter, we are right on schedule”, said Schwarz. “Now, in March, the construction work that was suspended in winter, as planned, will be resumed.” The next major event is scheduled for May, i.e. the topping-out ceremony for the BBI Terminal. In addition, the fire station and the buildings for special equipment, the winter service and ground handling services will go into operation. This year will also see the completion of the aircraft operation areas, the structural work on the south pier and the operational buildings.

The new Capital Airport BBI is set to open as early as next year, on 30 October 2011. You can already see the new Berlin-Brandenburg airport taking shape on the construction site. “We are inviting everyone to come and gain an insight into the region’s biggest development project”, said CEO of Berlin Airports, Schwarz. The next opportunity to do so will be at the topping-out ceremony weekend on 8 and 9 May, at the ILA from 8–13 June, at the 4th AirportRun, half-marathon and 10-km race of Berlin Airports, with accompanying construction site party on 21 and 22 August as well as at the Festival of LightsTM from 13–24 October 2010.

BBI becomes a reality

In 2010, preparations for BBI enter a new phase. CEO of Berlin Airports, Schwarz: “This year will be about bringing the construction to life. We have already started drawing up detailed plans with our partners, the airlines, ground handling, Deutsche Flugsicherung and many others. Before trial runs begin in May 2011, day-to-day processes must be clarified and decisions reached as to who does what and where at the new airport. The most spectacular relocation that Berlin has ever seen will take place during the night of 29–30 October 2011.” All mobile equipment, machinery and installations will be moved to the new BBI Airport overnight, where the first scheduled flights will take off on the morning of 30 October 2011.
Spokesman Lars Wagner

Lars Wagner Head of the Press Office / Spokesman
Berlin Brandenburg Airport

+49 30 6091-70100 +49 30 6091-70070