airberlin launches four new routes, three to Canary Islands
airberlin has introduced four new routes from two of its non-hub airports, Saarbrücken (SCN) and Stuttgart (STR). Despite claiming that its future network strategy would be based around four main hubs in Berlin, Düsseldorf, Palma and Vienna, it seems the airline can’t resist looking for new niche markets to exploit from some of its regional airports in Germany. So this week has seen the launch of weekly flights from Saarbrücken to Las Palmas (LPA) in Gran Canaria using an A319, and four-times weekly domestic flights to Nuremberg (NUE), also using an A319. Until now, airberlin’s only routes from Saarbrücken (close to the French border) have been to its bases in Berlin Tegel and Palma de Mallorca. Last year, Saarbrücken Airport handled just over 490,000 passengers, but in the first nine months of 2011, terminal passenger numbers are down 4.4%, compared with growth of 5.8% across all German airports, according to ADV statistics. Meanwhile, from Stuttgart, the future oneworld alliance member has launched two new routes to the Canary Islands; weekly flights to Lanzarote (ACE) using an A320, and twice-weekly flights to Fuerteventura (FUE) using 737-800s, bringing to 23 the number of destinations served from Stuttgart by Germany’s second-biggest airline.