AirBerlin attacks KLM and Arkefly in their backyard
BERLIN - Airberlin will step up the attack on the Dutch vacationer with more economical flights to America and the Caribbean from Dusseldorf, which is just over the border near the Dutch city Venlo.
Expectations are that KLM and Arkefly will also apply competitive prices from Schiphol and Eindhoven Airport. They say that they are not afraid of the competition from Germany.
“The Netherlands is a very important market for us. We want to invest heavily in it”, said the new CEO Stefan Pichler of the second German airline last Wednesday at ITB Berlin, the largest tourism fair in the world.
He is not in serious conversation with KLM about cooperation. “The Arab KLM partner Etihad has a substantial stake in AirBerlin. But that is an investor. We decide what we do,” said Pichler, who wants to get out of the red numbers come next year.
In the USA, AirBerlin is closely working with American Airlines, which is in the 'enemy camp' of KLM. “We ourselves will go more often to New York, Los Angeles and Miami. In the Caribbean we want to expand the number of vacation destinations,” Pichler announced.
From Düsseldorf the airline operates flights to the Dutch islands, including Curaçao, in the Caribbean, which are the strongholds of Arkefly and KLM. “We wonder how long Airberlin can sustain that,” said an Arkefly representative.
In Europe, AirBerlin launches in May four new fare classes. “The lowest cost 44 euros one way, but passengers do not have additional facilities such as checked baggage. So we try to trump discount airlines,” Pichler said.
By Paul Eldering