Auf Wiedersehen Air Berlin: Germany’s Second Largest Airline Ceases Operations After 39 Years

Oct 28, 2017

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On Friday at 11:46 pm local time, the airline known as Air Berlin landed for the very last time. Air Berlin flight 6210 from Munich (MUC) to Berlin’s Tegel (TXL) would be the last flight for what was Germany’s second-largest airline. This final flight comes less than 11 weeks after Air Berlin declared bankruptcy and began a sharp reduction in service.

The historic last flight was operated by an Airbus A320 with the registration D-ABNW. Just like on Air Berlin’s final transatlantic flight, the pilots of the final Air Berlin flight ever extended their time in the air by just a bit. But this time, it seems the pilots didn’t have to break airline rules to do so. The loops around Berlin created a crude heart over the city it was named after and operated from:

BER4EVR final flight track

The pilots switched the flight’s call sign from AB6210 to BER4EVR before departing MUC, leaving an eerie Status: “Unknown” for AB6210 on flight tracking site FlightRadar24:

AB6210 status unknown

During the day on Friday, the airline posted photos on Twitter from its nearly four decade history using the hashtag “#Forever39” — the memories included everything from the airline’s first flight in 1979 to introducing new crew uniforms in 1992 to joining the Oneworld alliance in 2012.

And with the landing of AB6210 / BER4EVR, Air Berlin has suspended its operations. The airline took to the internet to say one last “Tschüss, auf Wiedersehen and bye-bye.”

Air Berlin final website message2What’s next for the former airline’s operations? EasyJet announced on Friday that it’ll take over the leases of up to 25 of Air Berlin’s Airbus A320s, along with Air Berlin’s takeoff and landing slots at Berlin Tegel Airport (TXL). To staff these operations, the London-based airline has launched a campaign to hire up to 1,000 Air Berlin staff. EasyJet will pay €40 million (~US$46 million) for the leases and landing slots.

However, it’ll take a while before EasyJet can get approval for its plan from the German authorities. In the meantime, Air Transport World calculates that “the German aviation system will lose 60,000 passengers seats and 250 flights every day.”

What’s your favorite memory of Air Berlin?

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