Air Berlin, the German airline partly owned by Gulf carrier Etihad, is launching another cost-cutting initiative as it tries to return to profit."The company is reacting to a further worsening of the economic environment, the weak euro and consumer behaviour that is marked by growing uncertainty," the company said in a statement.Germany's second-biggest airline after Lufthansa also said a German air travel tax and persistently high fuel prices created additional headwinds.It said it aimed to significantly reduce costs with the new programme, dubbed Turbine 2013, without being more specific. It also did not say whether the programme would involve job cuts.Air Berlin, which has not posted a full-year operating profit since 2007, has already cut seats, unprofitable routes and postponed plane orders to reduce costs and shrink its way back to profitability after racking up debts to expand.Its current savings programme, Shape & Size, is aimed at improving earnings before interest and tax by EUR€230 million by the end of 2012.German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung earlier cited a letter sent to employees by chief executive Hartmut Mehdorn as saying Shape & Size would not be sufficient to reach the airline's goal of returning to an operating profit next year. Source: Reuters
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