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Air Berlin under fire for lawmaker perks

The Local · 11 Oct 2011, 11:30

Published: 11 Oct 2011 11:30 GMT+02:00

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The airline – Germany’s second largest after Lufthansa – has long given special discounts to journalists and even gave celebrities free flights, although that programme was recently discontinued.

But it’s the revelation that the airline has offered lawmakers memberships in its top frequent flyer level that has really raised hackles.

The Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper reported Tuesday that last year the airline’s chief executive sent parliamentarians a letter offering the airline’s “constructive support” to tackle the Bundestag’s “great challenges,” along with a Gold card for the airline’s frequent flyer program.

That card allows holders a range of perks, including seats with more legroom, a larger baggage allowance and exclusive parking and waiting areas at airports. Normally, customers must fly at least 40,000 miles in order to get a gold card.

Air Berlin declined to tell the paper how many parliamentarians had used the card.

But the anti-corruption watchdog, Transparency International called on president of the Bundestag to immediately reveal which members had taken advantage of the offer, calling it “unfair” to regular Germans.

“These types of amenities for members of parliament are a breeding ground for future lobbying activities,” it told the Frankfurter Rundschau.

Story continues below…

The Local/mdm

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

12:24 October 12, 2011 by Joe Wutbürger
Oh come come! If politicians didn't get privileges and freebies to show that they're superior to the common folk then they wouldn't have become politicians in the first place.... oder?

Nice to know there is an anti-corruption watchdog though. Maybe they could send some of its puppies to Brussels.
15:01 October 20, 2011 by KamalaCCBC
Air Berlin is bribing the lawmakers. The incentive the airline is giving to them is securing their influence in German politics. This should be considered a crime because of the endorsements. They are influencing policies that are regarding airlines, which is unfair to the public. The government should not favor one side, and disregard the other. The government needs to be equal and create policies that are in the best interests of the country. To gain back their positive image in the public, they need to take back the incentives from the lawmakers. Maybe a law needs to be passed to illegalize endorsements in order to prevent lawmakers from corruption.
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