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Laudamotion to launch Tegel base amid intensifying competition

Laudamotion will open a new base and operate 17 routes from Berlin Tegel this summer as part of its co-operation with new investor Ryanair.

The Austrian carrier, which is based on the now-defunct Niki operation, will from 1 June station four aircraft in the German capital.

Eight of the 17 destinations are in Spain: Barcelona, Fuerteventura, Ibiza, Lanzarote, Las Palmas, Malaga, Palma de Mallorca and Tenerife. Four are in Greece: Corfu, Heraklion, Kos and Rhodes.

Faro in Portugal is also on the list, along with two destinations in Croatia (Pula and Rijeka) and two in Italy (Brindisi and Milan Malpensa).

Laudamotion had already indicated that it would operate from Tegel to Palma de Mallorca, as part of initial network plans disclosed earlier this month, though the route is not yet available in its booking engine.

FlightGlobal schedules data indicates that Laudamotion will compete with Eurowings on the routes to Barcelona, Faro, Heraklion, Palma de Mallorca and Rijeka.

Germania and TUIfly will both be rivals to Laudamotion on four of the routes: Fuerteventura, Las Palmas, Rhodes and Tenerife. Germania also operates the Lanzarote route.

On the routes to Brindisi, Corfu, Milan Mapensa, Palma de Mallorca and Pula, Laudamotion will compete with EasyJet.

The Austrian carrier will challenge Vueling on Tegel-Barcelona and Aegean Airlines on Tegel-Heraklion. That Greek route will also be operated by German leisure carrier Sundair, which will also fly to Kos and Rhodes from Tegel.

Laudaomotion will compete directly with Ryanair on the route to Palma de Mallorca, the Irish carrier having just announced plans to begin its first service from Tegel over the summer.

The Austrian company – controlled by former Formula 1 racing driver and aviation entrepreneur Niki Lauda – acquired assets from Niki's administrators in January. An initial deal for Lufthansa to acquire Niki had fallen through amid competition concerns.

Ryanair earlier this month agreed to acquire 75% of Laudamotion for €50 million ($62 million). The Irish budget carrier says it will initially buy a 24.9% stake and plans to increase it to 75% subject to EU competition approval

Niki had last summer operated 13 routes out of Tegel, the bulk of which have now been picked up by Laudamotion.

Ryanair and EasyJet are both long present in Berlin, operating out of the city's Schonefeld airport. Now, both – albeit indirectly through Laudamotion, in the case of Ryanair – have a presence at Tegel.

EasyJet began Tegel operations in January after successfully bidding for assets from Air Berlin's administrators, and has today announced the addition of five points to its Tegel network: Alghero, Bari and Olbia in Italy, Danish airport Aarhus, and Czech capital Prague.

The UK low-cost carrier will also switch some of its Schonefeld flights from three of its key business destinations, London Gatwick, Edinburgh and Paris Orly, to begin Tegel services.

"Our Berlin summer schedule is selling well and the ramp-up of the operation is going as planned," states EasyJet's country director for Germany, Austria and Switzerland, Thomas Haagensen. That expansion also includes additional frequencies on the German domestic routes it began this year, including flights to Dusseldorf, Frankfurt and Munich.

The disclosure of Laudamotion's Tegel plans comes after the airline had earlier in March outlined plans for routes from Germany, Austria and Switzerland, predominantly to southern European leisure destinations.

Laudamotion will deploy six aircraft at Dusseldorf and one each in Cologne, Frankfurt, Munich, Nuremberg and Stuttgart.

The carrier will base four aircraft in Vienna this summer and could increase this by another three over the winter as part of a "focus on a city shuttle service" from the Austrian capital. Two aircraft will be based at Zurich.

Additional reporting by Graham Dunn

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