UPDATE 1-Air Berlin to cut seats, fleet in bid for turnaround

Wed Aug 20, 2014 1:51pm EDT
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* Swings to Q2 net profit of 8.6 mln euros

* CEO says to stick to current business model

* CEO aims for sustained profits in 3 years

* Shares rise 7.8 pct in after-hours trade (Adds more comments on restructuring, CEO comment, costs)

BERLIN, Aug 20 (Reuters) - Air Berlin, Germany's second largest airline, said it will cut the number of seats it offers and reduce the number of aircraft it operates as it launches a new plan to return to profits.

The company, 29-percent owned by Abu Dhabi-based Etihad, will reduce capacity by 10 percent, shrink its fleet by about 10 aircraft and shut down five crew bases, it said on Wednesday as it reported second quarter results.

It is also in talks for a close bilateral cooperation with Alitalia, which Etihad has just agreed to buy almost half of, thus rescuing the loss-making Italian carrier.

Air Berlin's fleet currently comprises planes made by Airbus , Boeing and Bombardier, but it said it will aim to harmonise its narrow body fleet.

Air Berlin, found itself saddled with debt after a period of rapid expansion, is already cutting 10 percent of its workforce and has halted unprofitable routes as part of the Turbine restructuring programme.   Continued...