Air Berlin makes big Boeing order

Air Berlin has seen a considerable increase in number of passengers and rise in revenue this year and management has confirmed strong profit expectations and a large order for 85 Boeing 737 aircraft.Air Berlin PLC continued to grow in the third quarter. From July to September 2006, the airline company realized a 28.4 per cent increase in revenue to a total of EUR 510 million (Q3/05: EUR 397.3 million). Developments in the first nine months were just as positive. During that time period, Air Berlin realized EUR 1.135 billion in revenue (+ 19.58 per cent). The result from operations before interest and taxes (EBIT) rose to EUR 54.3 million in the third quarter, compared to EUR 51.7 million in the corresponding period of the previous year. With EUR 41.4 million for the nine month period, EBIT surpassed the previous year’s level by 76 per cent (2005: EUR 23.5 million).

Together with its subsidiary dba, which was only included in the Group’s consolidated accounts for the month of September, Air Berlin generated a net profit of EUR 38.7 million (Q3/05: EUR 30.6 million). This corresponds to a 26.5 per cent increase. Air Berlin’s CEO, Joachim Hunold, stated on the subject on Tuesday in Berlin: “We have achieved our best quarterly result ever, even though the terrorist attacks in Turkey and flight cancellations due to increased security measures in London certainly did not pass us by without leaving a trace.” From January to September, consolidated profit amounted to EUR 37.7 million (previous year: EUR -12.5 million). For the year 2006, Hunold is expecting “a net profit in line with market expectations”.

The 12.9 per cent increase in the number of passengers transported also deserves special mention. Including dba (month of September), Air Berlin transported 12,176,778 passengers in the first nine months of the year at a capacity utilization of 80.14 per cent (+1.47 percentage points). At a level of 83.54 per cent in the 3rd quarter, capacity utilization (including dba for September) was also at a high level (Q3/05 incl. dba for September 84.34 %). In the third quarter, revenue per available seat kilometer (ASK) increased by 9.45 per cent, i.e. from 5.36 to 5.87 Eurocent. For the first nine months of the year, Yield per ASK increased by 12.1 per cent, i.e. from 4.80 to 5.38 Eurocent, as compared to the previous year.

In order to also be able to keep up with its European competitors in the future, Air Berlin is ordering 60 Boeing 737-800 Next Generation jets. As Joachim Hunold stated: “By awarding this large contract, we are securing a favorable delivery price for the long term. The new planes are meant to replace expiring leasing contracts and to secure future growth. As was the case in the past, we aim to renew our fleet every six to eight years in order to be able to deploy the least noise-polluting, and the most fuel-efficient and cost-efficient airplanes. Through this order, we are renewing our strategic partnership with Boeing.”

Since the acquisition of dba also included the purchase agreement for 25 Boeing 737, Air Berlin is expecting a total of 85 planes to be delivered between 2007 and 2014. The list price for the planes ordered amounts to approximately USD 5.7 billion, making it the largest order for B 737 planes in the history of German aviation. By the end of the 3rd quarter, Air Berlin’s fleet consisted of 62 planes; dba deployed 29 planes.