Air Berlin axes celebrity travel scheme

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Air Berlin is to abandon its "Countercard Premium Plus" promotion scheme which allows celebrities to fly at discount prices.

The cards, which will expire at the end of the year, were handed out to "selected" personalities in the past to act as "brand ambassadors".

Cardholders could travel at "favourable" costs "whenever reasonably possible" so that they would be able "to emphasise the quality of the company's products", the German airline said.

"These relationships support a positive positioning of the Air Berlin brand," the carrier said.

It added that similar schemes were typical for many enterprises.

The airline declined to specify how many celebrities had enjoyed the card's privileges and whether it enabled them to travel free of charge, as reported by the Sunday edition of Germany's tabloid newspaper Bild on 2 October.

The decision to axe the scheme had apparently been taken before the release of that report. Air Berlin said this was decided as part of its recently announced restructuring programme.

However, the airline declined to provide further details.