CEO claims carrier performing better than others
Air Berlin, Germany's second biggest carrier, reported a net loss of €88.4m for the first quarter, compared with a Q1 loss of €59.6m in 2008.
The airline said its operating loss for the three months to the end of March was €87.sm, compared to a loss of €68.6m in the same period of 2008.
Passenger numbers dropped by 6.2% to 5.5m while revenue rose by 1.2% to €661m.
Pre-tax earnings fell from €40.3m for the first quarter 2008 to €27.1m this year.
The airline said the results were "according to plan."
Joachim Hunold, Air Berlin's ceo, said: "In this challenging economic environment, Air Berlin has performed better than other European airline companies.
"We were able to increase our charter-business revenue, especially due to improved capacity management on our long-haul flights.
"Furthermore, despite a shrinking market environment, we have succeeded in keeping single-seat ticket sales relatively stable."
Ulf Hüttmeyer, the carrier's cfo, said increased focus on price by corporates had "increased demand for Air Berlin."
He said Air Berlin now had 868 deals with corporate clients currently focusing on renewing the existing agreements.
During the quarter, two companies acquired substantial minority stakes in Air Berlin.
Tui Travel plc, part of the large German owned Tui group, has entered a strategic partnership with Air Berlin under which it will acquire a 19.9% stake in the airline.
The second investor is the Turkish conglomerate ESAS Holdings which already operates another low cost carrier Pegasus Airlines, the second largest carrier in Turkey.
It has bought a 15.3% holding in Air Berlin from UBS, the Swiss bank.
This represents much of the 18.9% holding sold last January by Access Industries, a company owned by Len Blavatnik, a Russian entrepreneur.