From a purchasing cooperative to an international company group. A Berlin Kreuzberg success story.
About 35 years ago, in a Kreuzberg backyard office, it was just tickets, tickets, tickets.
We still sell tickets, and more than ever. But we've outgrown ourselves in the meantime.
- The group of companies includes almost 20 consolidators in Germany and abroad.
- We do centralized flight purchasing, negotiate contracts with the airlines ourselves, and act as agents for sales.
- We develop state-of-the-art booking technology for travel agencies and are a database provider.
- We act as IATA agent for travel agencies and tour operators.
- We offer our customers friendly and competent service around flight bookings. And we do this 365 days a year and around the clock.
A perfect start on the Belgian market2022 AERTiCKET acquires the Belgian consolidator Skyways from the Dutch Airtrade Holdings. AERTiCKET and Airtrade have been working together successfully since 2013; in 2021, Airtrade became a shareholder in the AERTiCKET subsidiary Global Conso Tech.
More than just partners: Global Conso Tech
Our new pillar in Great Britain: AERTiCKET UKThe acquisition of the consolidator from Emerald UK is an important pillar for the AERTiCKET Group in the UK market.
AERTiCKET has been partnering with consolidators, travel agency chains and OTAs worldwide for years. In 2021, Global Conso Tech AG is founded, a consortium of AERTiCKET with a large number of international partners. This is a first step on the way from mere partnership towards further joint activities. 40 partners have already joined Global Conso Tech.
Despite the pandemic: The expansion continuesThe global COVID19 pandemic has hit the travel industry especially hard. Flight cancellations, constantly changing travel warnings and entry restrictions have made flying almost impossible. Fortunately, AERTiCKET had been managing well. We had been able to use our reserves and thus navigate safely through the crisis.
The Turkish consolidator Biletbank joins the AERTiCKET Group. Mustafa Akdeniz, founder and owner, remains on board and still holds 50% of the shares.
Reinventing ourselves"Starting in 2018, we consider ourselves to be mainly a technology company," said founder, managing director and shareholder Rainer Klee, describing the company's goal. The airline ticket wholesale business model has already been under constant pressure to adapt for years, which has become sensitive since the end of the standard commission from airlines. The Berlin-based company is dealing with this creatively, developing its own new reservation system - the booking world Cockpit. And reinvents itself.
Back to the rootsAERTiCKET restructured - and the travel agency cooperation AER, together with CEO Rainer Klee, took over 100 percent of the shares, while RT Group and STA Travel left as shareholders. As part of the new structure, the tour operator Explorer Fernreisen, which had been part of the company since 2008, moves to RT Group.
Consolidator and real estate developerAir ticket wholesaler and real estate developer2011 brought something completely new: AERTiCKET also acted as a developer. The "AERTiCKET-Haus" - a complete, four-story rear building - was completely renovated in coordination with the owner. In the traditional Gründerzeit building, bright, modern lofts were created for the approximately 170 AER employees. Modern windows and a cooling system ensure a good indoor climate in summer and winter, and the photovoltaic system on the roof supplies self-generated electricity.
From Kreuzberg to Los AngelesEthnic Travel has been an important business area for AERTiCKET for years, as shown by our company's participations in the consolidators "Das Ticket Team" and "airtuerk". An entry into the US consolidator market arose in 2008, because the head and founder of Picasso Travel, Huseyin Ozyurtcu, was looking for a successor for reasons of age.
Modification and expansionSixt pulled out after only two years and the long-standing partners AER e.v., STA and Titanic Reisen took over the shares. In the same year, Raiffeisenbank Altötting-Mühldorf (later VR meine Raiffeisenbank) became AERTiCKET's house bank and its chairman became a member of AERTiCKET's supervisory board. This marked the beginning of years of productive cooperation.
Competing with the webThe online business became more and more important and AER made big plans. Despite the difficult situation, investments had to be made and an innovative partner was quickly found in the company Sixt. AERTiCKET AG was founded and barely ten months later, the first combined IATA and Conso fare database, "AER Pilot," was launched. This was soon followed by the Amadeus Fare Wizard, one of the first booking engines for travel agencies without their own CRS.
Rise in spite of crisisAER had doubled its turnover in the past three years, employing around 70 people, and in the summer of 2001 moved its headquarters to new, significantly larger premises in Zossener Straße - also in Kreuzberg, of course. The terrible attacks of September 11 shook the world and the number of flight bookings dropped dramatically. AER employees reacted to this first serious crisis in the company's history by joining forces and voluntarily accepting a pay cut.
Branch networkIn 1998, AER took over smaller consolidators in Hamburg, Hanover, Frankfurt and Mainz, and in the following four years added branches in Nuremberg, Munich and Essen. This created a network of branches throughout Germany, ensuring proximity and personal contact with travel agencies.
Success has consequencesAER moved into its first own offices, doubled its turnover within a year and began negotiations with STA Travel about their participation in the consolidator. The talks turned out to be lengthy, as one side insisted on entrepreneurial independence and flexibility while the other demanded a voice and detailed planning. An agreement was reached and the successful partnership lasted 20(!) years.
A good idea turns into good businessThe original idea turned into a business and a personal success: Within a few years, Titanic Reisen developed into an alternative travel agency chain with several branches in the Berlin metropolitan area.
In 1993, the consolidator AER Reiseservice was founded and Titanic Reisen handed over the consolidator business, including the first three employees, to the new company. Under the management of Rainer Klee, AER went on the road to success: after just one year, contracts were signed with around 30 airlines and AER e.V. joined the GmbH as the main shareholder. Very high growth rates led to better and better contract conditions and the turnover grew within two years to 40 million DM in 1995.
Tickets, Tickets, Tickets.Three years after its foundation, Titanic Reisen started the professional wholesale of airline tickets and became a member of AER e.V. The combined purchasing power made cheaper tickets and better contract conditions possible. The principle of mutual support was the focus, and the company saw itself as a purchasing cooperation.
How it startedToday's AERTiCKET group started in 1988 in the city of the Berlin Wall, West Berlin. The alternative scene in Kreuzberg in the 80s was creative and innovative. Some activists had gained so much experience in booking flights while organizing political journeys to Nicaragua that they spontaneously started their own travel agency - with the paradoxical name "Titanic Reisen". Being autonomous and independent was important. Titanic Reisen had its own IATA number right from the start, and neighboring travel agency friends therefore ordered their tickets through them. This purchasing cooperative was the beginning of the air ticket trade.