This is what happens when you remove the competition – first there is a massive drop in flight availability, then you have to fill the vacuum that leaves. Imagine all those former AirBelrin passengers with almost no other airline to fly on just yet?
Germania is claiming that it will grow its operations from Berlin Tegel by 400% in the next few months, Lufthansa’s Eurowings will inevitably benefit, not just from staff and aircraft that were AirBerlin’s, but from routes and passengers this consolidation brings their way. Fewer airlines, less choice. Lufthansa’s internal flight charges aren’t exactly cheap. As an example, flying return from BHX to FRA and on to Nuremburg, back via Munich – the 17 minute flight to Nuremburg from FRA and 22 minute flight to Munich was 70% of the fare!
In order to cope, Lufthansa had already stated to allocated a daily flight to Berlin from Frankfurt on 744’s, now it’s had to schedule A340-300’s for two days a week for a month, and bring in A321’s to keep the numbers up. A340-600’s will also be used from Munich for a short period.
Even Austrian and Swiss have been forced to increase widebody availability on one or two days a week until the situation settles down and all of the aircraft Lufthansa acquired from AirBerlin are operational. Austrian are operating 767-300’s on demand at peak periods, and Swiss is using A333’s once or twice a week from Zürich to Berlin.
Part of the problem is the ongoing saga of the Berlin-Brandenburg airport which is still not finished – and something of a tourist attraction, as its complete in most respects, other than faulty electrics, smoke alarms and doors, which have had to be stripped out of the entire facility and replaced. It may open, after 11 years, in early 2019. The current facility at Tegel was designed for just quarter of the passengers it currently deals with.