During the first years after the founding, our Company developed a stable basic position in the charter sector of a burgeoning air travel market. After a healthy initial development, we concentrated on the Spanish airport of Palma de Mallorca, where we expanded our capacity gradually. At Palma, one of the central European hubs, we were present for flight operations all over the year. This platform provided the means for us to increase our market share continuously.
Our Company had soon reached a size which allowed the focus to shift to other development options - especially as our growth was continuing unabated. This led us to move on to the next stage of development. We extended single-seat ticket sales to all routes and further expanded our route network with attractive city destinations. This path was supported by the emergence of new technologies, especially the internet. These enabled us to build up a strong system of direct sales. With our attractive services, it was now possible to appeal to a very broad clientele and even boost our market share further.
airberlin's market position has been established through continued organic growth as well as acquisition.
The IPO in 2006 opened up new possibilities for us. The fresh capital allowed to reach new heights of development by means of acquisitions. During the same year, we completely acquired dba Luftfahrtgesellschaft mbH, meaning that our Group was growing by leaps and bounds for the first time. airberlin’s domestic German route network was complemented significantly by the routes gained, enabling us to pay increased attention to our business customers. The acquisition of LTU International Airlines followed in 2007, which granted us access to the attractive long-haul market, as well as a 49% stake in Belair Airlines of Switzerland.
Through the takeover of the airline Hapag-Lloyd Fluggesellschaft mbH's city network (TUIfly), airberlin strengthened its presence on the airports Cologne/Bonn and Stuttgart as well as in the destination area Italy with the beginning of the winter season flight plan 2009/ 2010. Thus airberlin was able to broaden its attractive range of destinations for all customer groups.
On 5 July 2010, airberlin announced the increase of its stake in NIKI Luftfahrt GmbH from 24 per cent to 49.9 per cent. NIKI Luftfahrt GmbH has been fully consolidated in the financial statements of Air Berlin PLC, effective as of 1 July 2010, but will remain a legally independent company with its own management. The NIKI brand, which is well known and positioned in the market successfully, will be retained. By increasing the stake in NIKI, with whom an extensive cooperation already existed, NIKI was brought under airberlin's umbrella, entailing numerous opportunities for synergies and growth. With NIKI as a partner, the market presence of the airberlin group in Austria will be enhanced considerably and the Vienna airport has become an additional airberlin hub, that developed into a gateway to Eastern Europe.
As part of a capital increase, Etihad Airways from the United Arab Emirates acquired a 29.2% stake in airberlin in January 2012. Etihad Airways became the largest shareholder of airberlin.
A major strategic step forward is the full membership of airberlin in the Global oneworld® Alliance.
airberlin has entered already codeshare agreements with 8 prominent international oneworld partners: American Airlines, British Airways, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, Royal Jordanien, S7 Airlines and SriLankan Airlines. Since 20 March 2012, airberlin belongs to the oneworld Alliance as a full member.
Furthermore, 14 "equity alliance" carrier count to airberlin's codeshare partners: airBaltic, Air Serbia, Air Seychelles, Alitalia, Bangkok Airways, Bulgaria Air, Czech Airlines, Etihad Regional, Flybe, Hainan Airlines, Jet Airways, Meridiana Fly, Pegasus Airlines and Virgin Australia.
Today, airberlin is a successful, leading European carrier, which offers a complete and attractive route network at low prices including all with quality service, an established frequent flyer programme and an unmistakeable brand identity.