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German carrier airberlin has confirmed it will introduce flights between the German and Spanish capitals, maintaining air services on the route after Iberia suspends its own flights early next year. The new daily Berlin – Madrid flight will be launched on February 25, 2013 around six weeks after Spanish flag carrier Iberia ends its own services on the route.
It is no surprise that airberlin has entered this markets as this flight will maintain air links between two of oneworld’s European hubs. Iberia had planned to initially transfer the route to its low-cost subsidiary Iberia Express from the start of the Northern Winter schedule this year but union issues are understood to have blocked this from taking place.
“The new connection between Berlin and Madrid gives airberlin direct access to one of the most important markets in Spain and at the same time strengthens its Berlin hub,” said Wolfgang Prock-Schauer, Chief Strategy and Network Planning Officer, airberlin. “Thanks to the short transfer times in Berlin, the new route means that we are also able to offer an attractive service to guests who wish to take flights from Madrid and transfer via Berlin to Scandinavia or Eastern Europe, for instance.”
airberlin’s market entry is a response to the strong and constantly growing demand in both Spain and Germany for holiday and business trips between the two capital cities but as suggested by Wolfgang Prock-Schauer, will also support a strong transfer demand particularly from and to the Nordics and Eastern Europe.
airberlin currently offers connecting flights from Madrid via Berlin to a total of 16 destinations in Europe, including the two major Swedish cities of Stockholm and Gothenburg. The Northern European capitals Copenhagen and Oslo will also enjoy a smooth connection to Madrid via the Berlin hub following the introduction of this link, while the Polish capital, Warsaw, and Krakow will also benefit from a connection to Madrid with short transfer times in Berlin.
"We welcome airberlin’s commitment in maintaining the important Berlin-Madrid route. This is an important connection, particularly for passengers from Scandinavia, Poland and Eastern Europe, as well as South America, and we will be promoting it in our marketing activities," added Burkhard Kieker, chief executive officer, visitBerlin.
airberlin plans to use a 186-seat Boeing 737-800 on the once daily Berlin – Madrid route, representing a capacity decline versus the current twice daily operations of Iberia. The Berlin – Madrid market is also served by easyJet which has up to two flights per day into Schönefeld Airport in the German capital. In 2011 an estimated 311,000 O&D passengers flew between Berlin and Madrid, approximately 164,000 flying from/to Tegel and 147,000 from/to Schönefeld.