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Air Berlin to Join oneworld

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Air Berlin is to join oneworld, adding Europes fifth largest airline and Germanys second biggest carrier to the airline alliance. Air Berlin group member Austrias NIKI will become an affiliate member of the alliance.

A memorandum of understanding between Air Berlin and oneworld was completed in the airlines Berlin home city, with a formal alliance membership agreement expected to be signed soon.

Air Berlin should start flying as part of oneworld in early 2012 just weeks before the opening of the new Berlin Brandenburg International Airport, which is being built as a major new hub for Europe.

In 2009 Air Berlin served a total of 160 destinations in some 40 countries, operating almost 600 daily departures. It carried 28 million passengers, generating revenues of EUR3.2 billion (US$4.5 billion). As of July 2010, Air Berlin operates a fleet of 165 aircraft, including Austrias NIKI, serving 168 destinations.

Air Berlin will add almost 75 gateways to the oneworld map, expand the alliances coverage to almost 900 destinations in nearly 150 countries, served by a combined fleet of 2,500 aircraft operating some 9,500 flights a day and carrying 340 million passengers a year.

Members of Air Berlins topbonus frequent flyer programme will be able to earn and redeem rewards on any of oneworlds 13 other carriers, with top tier members able to use any of the groups 550 plus airport lounges, and its network will be covered by oneworlds full range of alliance fares. Frequent flyer cardholders of oneworlds established airlines will also be able to earn and redeem rewards when flying Air Berlin.

As a starting point in its oneworld implementation, Air Berlin will develop one-on-one co-operative agreements with key established members of the alliance American Airlines and Finnair, to take effect this coming winter season. Bilateral agreements with British Airways and Iberia are planned to follow.

British Airways will support Air Berlin through its oneworld implementation programme as its alliance sponsor.

Air Berlin Chief Executive Joachim Hunold said, Joining a global alliance is the logical next step in Air Berlins development. We are very pleased and proud to be lining up to join what is clearly the worlds top quality airline grouping. Becoming part of oneworld would be one of the most significant departures so far for our airline, enabling us to offer our customers a truly global network served by partners who include some of the best and biggest airlines in the world. We look forward to completing all joining requirements as soon as possible.

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