Niki Airlines, part of the Air Berlin group, will begin weekly direct flights from Shannon to Austria (Vienna, Linz, Graz) from May to September 2012. Started in 2004, Niki describes itself as “a relatively low cost airline”, is based in Vienna and has formed an alliance with Air Berlin. Titus Johnson, Country Manager UK & Ireland for Air Berlin, was in Dublin today and spoke with ITTN’s Neil Steedman.
“Ireland has been a strong offline market for us, with companies and individuals buying Air Berlin ex-mainland Europe and producing significant revenues. This has raised our awareness of the Irish market and we are investing more here.
“The Niki Airlines service ex-Shannon stems from a strong demand and I am taking a very broad view of the Irish market. Air Berlin operated into Belfast via our London Stansted hub until four years ago and we could see a return there – I am very keen to see it. Dublin? Perhaps!”
Niki Airlines offers online check in up to two hours prior to departure. It also offers premium gourmet meals and passengers can purchase their meal and drink on the website up to three days before departure – these are then served prior to the normal cabin service. Seats can be reserved up to two days prior to departure and there is a free baggage allowance of 20kg for Economy Class and 32kg for Business Class.
Niki’s loyalty programme is called Top Bonus and miles points are currently valid for three years. Passengers can earn Top Bonus miles or frequent flyer points by spending on a particular credit card and then transferring it to miles points.
Established in 1979, Air Berlin is a full-service carrier, is Germany’s second largest airline, and will become a member of the Oneworld alliance later this year. As well as low fares, it offers a full complimentary service that includes seat allocation, snacks, soft drinks, tea, coffee, newspapers, and a 20kg baggage allowance on all its European flights.
The Air Berlin group currently has more than 170 aircraft, employs more than 9,200 staff, and in 2010 it flew 33.6 million passengers. It has one of the most modern fleets in Europe and a consistently high service level.