Friday, June 6, 2008

Air Berlin or the mistake of a misinformed good company

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 important.

On April 25th, I wrote about the case of Volkswagen's SEAT and 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 German) they 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 Vilaweb has reported the incident. So does Avui, 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 Joan, 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. Hunold.

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

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,

5 comments:

bulbul said...

Mr Hunold decides to write on Air Berlin Magazine in a despective way
And stupid, don't forget stupid. I mean, sweet Jesus:

"Die von regionalen Nationalisten in weiten Teilen Spaniens angestrebte Autonomie ist jedenfalls ein Rückfall in mittelalterliche Kleinstaaterei."

So first he responds to a perfectly reasonable request by acting like a petulant child and the he goes on and attacks virtually every community in Spain. I was going to say something snarky and possibly point out how out of place his analogy is, but teh stupid, it buuurns my brain.
Give him hell.

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