Air Berlin expands Swiss operation: New company structure for Belair & Expansion of fleet and new routes from Swiss airports
Christof Zuber, CEO of Hotelplan Group, commented at the Zurich press conference on Thursday: "As a result of this transaction, the Hotelplan Group will be able to focus even better on its core tourism business. Personally, I am absolutely delighted that Belair and all its staff now have real prospects for the future as a result of this transaction."
Joachim Hunold, CEO of Air Berlin, stated in Zurich: "Despite of a challenging market place we have been able to extend our market position in Switzerland and offer Swiss customers a wider range. We are delighted that the Hotelplan Group remains our important tourism partner. This is clearly confirmed by the fact that Christof Zuber, CEO of the Hotelplan Group, continues as Chairman of the Board of Belair."
In March 2007, Air Berlin Group announced the acquisition of 49 percent of Belair from Hotelplan Holding AG and in November 2007 the shareholding was transferred after approval from the antitrust authorities. Since the takeover, the Air Berlin Group has continuously further developed the Swiss airline. Since acquiring the shareholding in November 2007, the Air Berlin Group has increased the Swiss fleet from three to six aircraft. By spring 2010, the number of aircraft will have trebled. The fleet will then be extended by three further aircraft to a total of nine Airbuses (eight A320, one A319). By 15 November 2009, the entire fleet (one B767, two B757) will have been replaced by modern Airbus aircraft. Since November 2007, Belair has created 50 new jobs in Zurich. Over the coming months, Air Berlin plans to create over 100 new cabin crew and 30 cockpit positions, resulting in a total staff of approximately 320 in summer (200 cabin crew, 100 pilots and 20 ground staff).
For its summer schedule for 2010, the Air Berlin Group offers new Spanish destinations from Swiss airports. As of March 2010, Air Berlin Group will, for the first time, be offering nonstop flights to Malaga from Zurich, flying to the Costa del Sol, a popular destination for golfers, four times a week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday). As of May 2010, the Air Berlin Group will, for the first time, be offering nonstop flights from Basle to Ibiza. Flights to the Balearic Island will leave every Friday and Sunday during the summer months. From Zurich, flights to Ibiza will be increased from two to three times per week - as already during last summer - and three weekly nonstop flights will be offered to Alicante.
As of the summer 2010, the Air Berlin Group will also be extending its range of Italian destinations available from Swiss airports, now including flights from Zurich to Bari, Naples and Palermo. Travelers will have the choice of three weekly flights to the Italian seaports of Bari and Naples and the Sicilian capital of Palermo. The Air Berlin Group is also increasing the frequency of existing routes from Zurich to Italian destinations. As of April 2010, flights to Lamezia Terme and Olbia will be twice instead of once a week and, starting in March, the Air Berlin Group will be offering three instead of two weekly flights from Zurich to Catania. Next summer will also see the introduction of flights from Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg airport to Catania. As of May 2010, the Air Berlin Group will fly from the Sicilian town every Friday and Sunday. Bookings will also be taken for the new weekly route from EuroAirport to Lamezia Terme, starting in April.