Balearic Islands: Air Berlin or the mistake of a misinformed good company

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Sat Jun 7 13:54:51 UTC 2008

Air Berlin or the mistake of a misinformed good
An airlines company has no need to discuss on topics that depass their area.
They can, of course; but there is no need. In any case, if they do, it
should be on the basis of information. Otherwise, writing stupid things that
might offend some clients can report bad consequences: loss of clients is
the first and most imminent, but damage on corporate image is not less

On April 25th, I wrote about the case of Volkswagen's
how Mr. García Sanz had pronounced words that Catalans found offensive
and how it had led to a bad image. Not a couple of months have passed and a
new mistake comes from a German company: Air Berlin. Catalan newspapers and
blogs are massively rejecting the company because of a text (in
had no need to publish. Mr. Joachim Hunold tells he had a letter from
the Balearic government where they politely ask to make a right use of the
official languages in the Island in the communication with their clients.
After all, Catalan is the language of Mallorca, where Spanish is also
official. But despite such a polite and institutional petition, Mr Hunold
decides to write on Air Berlin Magazine in a despective way. Surprisingly
enough for a CEO Air Berlin, he comes out to digress, among other useless
issues, on how Spanish is not taught or spoken anymore in the Balearic
Islands, which is obviously false. It happens to be that both languages are
official, and just because of that, both shoul be used by the Company. So
simple, so easy. No need to make a war of it. No need to make a commercial
problem of it. But now Mr. Other airlines enterprises like American
Airlines, Ryanair or Clickair use Catalan as a usual and common thing, so
why such a resistence and such despective answer? Hunold has put the company
in a mess. See what.

Catalan digital newspaper
reported the incident. So does
one of the most important ones. And not only the Balearic Government is
responding, but also the responisble for the language policy in Catalonia,
who happens to be Bernat
former EU deputee. And, what's best, he's not alone. Right now, bloggers
from all the Catalan Countries are posting about that miserable attitude
showed by Berlin Airlines. They are using an image of the company with the
nazi symbol added. Nazism is surely an extreme the company has not reached,
but on the other pole we have the idea of a respectfull and efficient
company. Hunold's trend seems to be looking at nazism much more than the
other pole.

The investors and leading team of the company would make a good deal if they
revised the incident. How was it possible. Who is misinforming them? Who is
leading them to such despective attitudes? There was no need to be so
agressive. Now, if we look for the company on Google, maybe we'll find more
about their mistakes than about their good services. Bad strategy, Mr.

Finally, the answer from the Catalan Countries is this letter we massively
send to Mr. Hunold at airberlin at

Herr Joachim Hunold

Generaldirektor Air Berlin

Sehr geehrter Herr Joachim Hunold,

Als katalanisch sprechender Bürger Mallorcas bin ich wirklich enttäuscht
über die unglücklichen Äusserungen, die in Ihrem Magazin zu lesen waren.*

*Es ist tatsächlich die Mehrheit der balearischen Bürger, die die
katalanische Sprache als Muttersprache hat, weshalb natürlich viele
Menschen bitter enttäuscht darüber sind, dass Ihre Sprache schlechtgemacht
wird; und dass im Hinblick auf die Tatsache, dass Mallorca einer der
wichtigsten wirtschaftlichen Standpunkte Air Berlins ist und zum Aufbau des
Air Berlin- Flugnetzes in entscheidendem Masse beigetragen hat. Insbesondere
die lange Zeit der sprachlichen Unterdrückung, welche die
katalanischsprachigen Teile des spanischen Staates unter General Franco zu
erdulden hatten, hat zur logischen Folge, dass die Bürger in der heutigen
demokratischen Gesellschaft mit und in ihrer Sprache leben möchten.*

*Ich bin mehr als überzeugt, dass der Service, ihre Fluggäste auch in
katalanischer Sprache zu informieren, von ihren balearischen Kunden als ein
schönes Zeichen der Verbundenheit Air Berlins mit Mallorca sowie den
anderen katalanischsprachigen Teilen des spanischen Staates verstanden würde
und in nicht zu unterschätzendem Masse zu einer weiteren Festigung der
deutsch-mallorquinischen Verbindung beitragen wird.*

Mit fereundlichen Grüssen,
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