Airberlin has appointed new board members as part of the German carrier’s strategy to reposition itself into a network carrier.

New board members are:

  • Henning zur Hausen, Etihad Aviation Group general counsel and company secretary;
  • Kevin Knight, Etihad Airways Group chief strategy & planning officer;
  • Matthias Kloepper, former FERI CFO (2005-2016); and
  • Thilo Schmidt, Federal Aviation Security Association of Germany deputy chairman and partner at Copernicus Strategic Consulting.

Those leaving the board are:

  • Hans-Joachim Körber (chairman for six years);
  • James Hogan (Etihad Airways president & CEO and airberlin group vice chairman;
  • James Rigney (Etihad CFO and airberlin board member); and
  • Johannes Zurnieden (board member 2006-2010).

Until a new chairman is appointed, Achim Hunold, a former airberlin CEO, will act as interim board chairman.

“We welcome our new board members and look forward to them further stimulating airberlin’s repositioning. The board will benefit from the varied expert disciplines they offer,” airberlin CEO Thomas Winkelmann said in a statement.

Airberlin, Germany’s second largest carrier, reported a €781.9 million loss ($824 million) for 2016, deepened from a €446.6 million loss in the year-ago period. For the 2017 first quarter, airberlin posted a net loss of €293.3 million, widened from a €182.3 million loss in the year-ago period.

Airberlin said 2016 and 1Q 2017 were dominated by the transition to a new business model. The old business model and high restructuring costs had a huge impact on last year’s results.

On May 8, ATW reported Lufthansa confirmed an interest in taking over airberlin; however, the German carrier said it would look to Abu Dhabi’s state-owned carrier Etihad Airways to take care of airberlin’s debts. Etihad owns a 29.2% stake in oneworld member airberlin, which has debts of €1.2 billion ($1.3 billion).

Kurt Hofmann