Air Berlin sees new Berlin airport as key to future growth

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Air Berlin plans to expand its route network at the future Berlin Brandenburg International (BBI) airport and increase passenger numbers by 50-60% by the end of the decade.

The airline and its future Oneworld partner carriers will exclusively occupy one of the two piers north/south of the terminal at the new airport, which is scheduled to open south of the current Schönefeld airport in June 2012.

"This year, we expect to have around 8.1 million passengers in Berlin," said chief executive Hartmut Mehdorn. "In 2020, we want to increase our passenger numbers to 12-13 million," he added.

The airline would finally be able to build up its hub for domestic, European and intercontinental flights with the opening of the new airport complex, he said.

Air Berlin plans to become a full member of the Oneworld alliance early next year.

The carrier is building a 12,000m² (129,000ft²) hangar for up to six narrowbody or two Airbus A330-sized widebody aircraft on the site, which is to be completed before June.