Alvaró Middelmann explains why Mallorca is an important business location for Air Berlin abroad.
How long have you lived in Mallorca? Since late 1986.
What made you decide to come here?
I was chosen to set up the new airline of the LTU-group in Spain and become its managing director.
What do you enjoy most about living in Mallorca?
The most important aspect is the high quality of life. I like to live in rather small communities. In addition I can enjoy life in the countryside without having to give up the comfort of a nearby city. It has also proved to be a very good environment for my two daughters.
What are your hobbies?
Reading newspapers, playing golf and bridge.
Tell us about your career prior to joining Air Berlin.
School studies in Madrid, Brussels and Vienna. Trainee at Iberia, sales manager at the airline Transeuropa in the 70´s, sales manager at a car accessory company in Vienna in the early 80´s, and first sales manager long haul at LTU in Düsseldorf, then LTE in Palma. Since 1993 I have had my own company representing companies in Spain and Portugal, the most important being Air Berlin.
What do you attribute the success of Air Berlin to?
Two primary factors: Air Berlin´s fantastic team of highly motivated people and its capacity for innovation.
What are Air Berlin’s goals for 2005?
After a number of years with important increases in all sectors, we will focus on consolidation and development of selected new routes.
Do you think the government are right in trying to reposition Mallorca as an all-year, high-quality tourist destination?
Yes. This was a goal of the Government in the late 90´s with substantial success, however it was not continued by the previous government. All this without forgetting that Mallorca will only be able to maintain its predominant position if it is capable of keeping the variety of its visitors. Mass tourism has been the base for the important flight connection availability.
Does this initiative support Air Berlin´s growth plans for the future?
Yes. Air Berlin has made substantial efforts to become a year-round carrier, providing the necessary air links to the island throughout the year.
Do you find it easy to do business here?
Yes, mainly because I am Spanish myself and therefore have a better understanding of the mentality. Due to the many years I have spent abroad, I can imagine that foreigners may find it difficult at times to follow certain ways of dealing with matters.
How does a large foreign organisation such as Air Berlin contributed to the local economy?
In many ways. We have created an important number of direct and indirect jobs providing, through our year round operation, stability of those jobs. Through the airport fees we pay for our 260 weekly flights (Winter 2004/5) we have made a substantial contribution to the economical result of the airport and AENA as a whole (Air Berlin is the largest non-Spanish airline at the AENA airport system).
Do you think foreign investment in Mallorca should be encouraged or discouraged? Why?
Definitely yes, but only investments compatible with the very delicate environment we enjoy on this island. Amongst others, reasons are: high quality of life, skilled human resources, very good flight connections and a multicultural society.