ROUTES: Air Berlin to make decision over further route cancellations

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An answer to the question of whether Air Berlin will cancel any further routes under its cost-saving Shape and Size programme will be given in the next four weeks.

As part of its bid to restore profitability, the German hybrid carrier is seeking to improve its network structure via a variety of measures.

Routes between Münster/Osnabrück and London Stansted, Vienna and Sylt in northern Germany have been scrapped, as well as flights from Cologne/Bonn to Valencia and various destinations in Morocco.

Cologne to Innsbruck, Naples and Palermo, and Hanover-London flights will no longer operate in winter.

In its next Shape and Size update, Air Berlin will say whether these cancellations are sufficient to achieve its goal of network sustainability.

Under the programme, the carrier identified network elements with poor results or little strategic importance as areas where improvements could be made to its network efficiency. Another focus was to reduce the seasonal imbalances between winter and summer flights.

Launched days after the announcement of a second-quarter operating loss of $46.1 million, Shape and Size is being implemented by the airline's interim chief executive, former Deutsche Airbus chairman Hartmut Mehdorn, who assumed the role after the resignation of Joachim Hunold.

It has also seen the carrier cut services from regional airports, which it said have become a "casualty" of the new German aviation tax.

It will focus instead on the expansion of its four hubs - in Berlin, Düsseldorf, Palma de Mallorca and Vienna.

Legacy airlines will become increasingly reliant on budget carriers to provide feed to their long-haul networks - and the long-haul, low-cost model is pretty much dead in these times of high oil prices.