For a few months now, we have known that Air Berlin was bordering bankruptcy. More recently, it was announced that Air Berlin would cancel long haul flights on October 15, 2017. This left a vacuum where Air Berlin used to operate, namely Berlin and Dusseldorf. To fill this void, Lufthansa plans to take over some Air Berlin routes. Among these, are the Caribbean routes that will be operated by Eurowings. These routes will be flown with former Air Berlin A330s. The next development is new Lufthansa long haul Berlin, Dusseldorf flights.
The Flagship Route to JFK
As of November 8, 2017, Lufthansa will take over Air Berlin’s former flagship route. LH will fly from Berlin-Tegel to JFK 5 times a week. The airline will fly an A330 on the route, configured with 4 classes of service. At the moment, it isn’t possible to book first class. This could mean that the airline in planning on selling it as a 3 cabin flight, with elites seated in First. The other, less likely, possibility is that inventory has not been loaded for First Class. The schedule for TXL-JFK will be as follows:
LH406 Berlin to New York departing 5:35PM arriving 8:35PM [M. T. W. R. S]
LH407 New York to Berlin departing 10:20PM arriving 12:15PM (+1 day)[M. T. W. R. S]
Taking Over Dusseldorf
It seems that Air Berlin had a second profitable long haul route. The airline currently flies from Dusseldorf to Miami, and Lufthansa will also take over this route with 3x weekly flights. As with the JFK route, the airline will fly with an A330. The difference is this aircraft has a 3 class configuration, so no chance at First Class. The schedule for DUS-MIA is as follows:
LH496 Dusseldorf to Miami departing 12:05PM arriving 4:50PM [M. W. F]
LH497 Miami to Dusseldorf departing 6:30PM arriving 9:30AM (+1 day) [Sun. T. R]
The End of Air Berlin?
I am hard-pressed to believe that Air Berlin will be able to restructure after the loss of their long haul routes. I don’t think the airline will be able to stay a part of oneWorld. If the airline wishes to survive, it will have to downsize to a manageable level, and then probably turn to being a ULCC. Thus ULCC market in Europe is crowded, so I don’t even think Air Berlin will be able to survive that. If Lufthansa purchases them it is the only way the airline will, in legacy, survive.
I am sad to see Air Berlin go, they had a solid product. It is especially sad to see them go after announcing a US expansion just a few weeks before going under. In fact, they had everyone fooled, even JetBlue was partnering with them just a few weeks before as well. I am glad that Lufthansa is stepping up to the plate and providing connections between the German capital and New York and other Air Berlin leisure routes. The question is how long can Air Berlin survive on its last leg.
What do you think? Are you going to switch to Lufthansa on you flights from Berlin and Dusseldorf? Let us know!
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H/T: One Mile at a Time
Images from: Wikimedia Commons