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Air Berlin: Swiftly integrating LTU

Air Berlin: Swiftly integrating LTU ( 20.09.2007
* Long-haul leisure travel to remain under the LTU name.
* Medium- and long-haul flights to operate under the Air Berlin banner.
* Travel to the US starting at EUR 129.
Even after its integration into the Air Berlin Group, LTU has continued to fly under its traditional logo on long-haul flights. However, in the near future, LTU’s medium- and long-haul business flights will be operated under the Air Berlin brand. Although LTU will remain a legally independent company under the Air Berlin PLC umbrella, it will be marketed entirely via Air Berlin.

As Joachim Hunold, Air Berlin’s CEO, who will shortly become Chairman of the Supervisory Board of LTU, stated at a press conference in Düsseldorf on Thursday: “Even though there were several reasons for giving up the LTU name, we decided on a partial solution in the end. We will continue to fly under the LTU logo on traditional long-haul leisure flights, for example to South Africa, Cuba, Thailand and the Dominican Republic. However, this will not apply to our medium-haul flights and our new long-haul business flights.

In recent years, Air Berlin has become increasingly competitive in its European destinations, whereas LTU has continued to lose market share on these routes. Moreover, since Air Berlin has acquired a high percentage of business passengers in the meantime, it makes sense to operate our business flights to the US and China under the Air Berlin brand. Outside of Germany, hardly anyone knows what exactly the three letters 'LTU' mean. Conversely, the name 'Air Berlin' is self-explanatory. 'Air' stands for airline and 'Berlin' stands for the capital of Germany. We also aim to make flight routes profitable by winning over passengers from our flight destinations."

Maximum comfort in Business Class

Air Berlin wants to significantly upgrade the Business Class on its long-haul flights to New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Fort Myers, Beijing and Shanghai. While a considerably improved “Relax Class" will replace the former Business Class on leisure travel flights, 30 ultra-comfortable “contoured" seats will be installed in the “Premium Business Class". This type of seat can be adjusted to a fully horizontal position. The upgrade is due to start in October and enhanced Business Class seats will be installed until the operation reaches completion. “The new Premium Business Class will make us stand out against our competitors," stated Joachim Hunold. “Without Air Berlin, we could never have offered our passengers this kind of luxury," explained Jürgen Marbach, Managing Director of LTU. Mr. Marbach also announced that as of 1 November, a one-way flight in Economy Class from Düsseldorf to New York will be available starting at EUR 129 (all taxes and fees included). For any connecting flights to Düsseldorf from within Germany, EUR 40 will be added to this price. As of Friday afternoon, these flights can be booked under over the Internet, in Air Berlin's Service Center (phone: 01805 – 737 800) or in any travel agency.

Teaming up with a Chinese airline

Air Berlin has secured a partner for its flights to China, namely Hainan Airlines, the fourth-largest airline company in China. With its fleet of 125 aircraft, Hainan Airlines operates flights from Beijing to 50 cities within China. Passengers travelling from Düsseldorf to Beijing on Air Berlin will soon have plenty of flight connections at their disposal on arrival in China (as soon as the flight plans have been harmonized). In return, Hainan Airlines is planning to operate a flight between Beijing and Berlin, and Air Berlin will be in charge of organizing the connecting flights within Germany and Europe. As Joachim Hunold stated: “This partnership puts our business in China on a solid footing." Hainan Airlines is a quality carrier, comparable to Air Berlin, and is a member of the 'HNA Group' which is also active in the fields of Airport Management, Hotel Management and Tourist Services. Its airline division has received numerous international awards for its excellent service.

A uniform Top Bonus program

Air Berlin and LTU aircraft will share the same layout in the near future. LTU’s cabin crew will also dress in the uniforms designed by Jette Joop, fashion designer par excellence. A uniform Top Bonus program, with which frequent-flyer miles can be collected for free travel, will be available for the entire Air Berlin Group. Passengers will be able to accumulate miles with and redeem miles for all of the companies
belonging to the Air Berlin Group.

Delectable food by Sansibar

Comfort and service in Air Berlin's new Premium Business Class will be top-notch. On long-haul flights, passengers will be offered meals created by the chefs of the “Sansibar", the most famous restaurant on Sylt Island. As of 1 November, passengers will be able to choose from 4 main courses: “traditional home cooking", vegetarian fare, ethnic cuisine or the “Sansibar classics". The meals can be accompanied by the Sansibar’s selection of three white and three red wines from Germany, Italy and France. In Economy Class, the warm and cold standard meals included in the ticket price can be supplemented with warm snacks for “in-between" (available for purchase).

A new advertising presence for the Air Berlin Group

Air Berlin’s advertising presence is also undergoing a make-over. In light of its global presence, Air Berlin has entrusted its marketing to the Rapp Collins Agency.
Hamburger Connection, our former partnership agency, which has been taking care of Air Berlin's advertising business since the airline's inception, was integrated into Rapp Collins' Düsseldorf office. Rapp Collins is one of the leading communication agencies in Germany and is integrated in the international network of the DDB Group Germany.

At present, the Air Berlin Group, which includes Air Berlin, LTU, dba, Belair and NIKI, operates 131 aircraft, of which 27 are flying under the LTU banner. The Group has approximately 7,000 employees. Starting from 2008, the integration of LTU is expected to generate synergies of EUR 70 million to EUR 100 million. An important step on this path, according to Ulf Hüttmeyer, Air Berlin’s CFO, was the founding of “Air Berlin Luftfahrttechnik Düsseldorf GmbH", which employs, among others, 600 former LTU employees from Düsseldorf and Munich and which will also execute
outside contracts on a large scale in the future.

Press contact:
Peter Hauptvogel
Director of Corporate Communications Air Berlin
phone: +49 30 3434 1500
fax: +49 30 3434 1509

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