Air Berlin to close Palma hub in the first quarter of 2016

Air Berlin 737-700 in Palma de Mallorca by Colin Cooke Photo - Flickr

Last Tuesday, Air Berlin’s board approved the cancellation of the whole domestic flight network that they operate in Spain. This means all connections between Palma and other Spanish destination will no longer operate. Hence, the German airline will close their hub between Spain and Europe.

The information was revealed by ElMundo on Friday. According to their sources the first destinations where the airline is to stop operating will be Ibiza, Alicante, Seville and Valencia. These routes will have been cancelled by the end of January 2016. The remainder of routes, i.e. Málaga, Jerez, Bilbao and Faro (Portugal), will be cancelled at the end of March.

This decision is the result from a strategic re-positioning of the company, pushed by poor results that are far from their expectations. This has led them to conclude that a domestic network in Spain will not be a part of their business model any more. The main reason is that these flights only create deficit due to a highly competitive market that has increased recently as the domestic market recovers. From now on Air Berlin has a clear target: to focus on increasing capacity on the long haul flights. They will concentrate on the Dusseldorf and Berlin Tegel airports.

In spite of the fact that Air Berlin will close the hub in Palma they don’t intend to leave the airport, in reality they intend to do the opposite. The airline expects to operate 9% more flights to Germany, Austria and Switzerland with over 500 weekly frequencies. They are already in talks with other airlines that also operate those domestic routes in order to keep offering the possibility of going to Germany, Austria or Switzerland from different origins in Spain, but always via Palma.