Bankrupt German airline AirBerlin operated its last flight yesterday, October 27th, from Munich to Berlin Tegel. The Airbus A320 flight carried 178 passengers.
The Oneworld member ceases operations officially today, October 28th, formally leaving the alliance it only joined in 2104. This ends nearly 39 years of operations, AirBerlin’s first flights were in 1979 and it has carried more than half a billion people since.
The airline officially enters formal bankruptcy on November 1st.
Negotiations with Condor and easyJet to transfer assets continues to take longer than expected, resulting in all aircraft not bought by Lufthansa being grounded. Any aircraft flying in AirBerlin livery after today will be repainted as soon as it’s viable.
German Domestic aviation, which is surprisingly large for such a well developed road and rail network Country, will lose 60,000 passengers seats and 250 flights every day. Lufthansa and others are working flat out to fill these gaps as soon as possible.
For now, only NIKI and Luftfahrtgesellschaft Walter (LGW) continue to fly as a result of the planned takeover by Lufthansa Group. They operate a combined fleet of 54 aircraft, including 14 Boeing 737s NIKI wet-leases from TUIfly. The TUI aircraft will almost certainly be returned – causing them an issue especially in the winter months. The NIKI and LGW brands which are Austrian based will be absorbed into Eurowings.
Before the August bankruptcy, AirBerlin operated 144 aircraft, many of which have already been returned to lessors. All 17 Airbus A330-200s have already been handed back.
The effect on Berlin’s airports, Tegel and Schoenefeld, means they are, at least temporarily, expecting fewer passengers, but the numbers will return to normal as the slots get reallocated; Lufthansa, Ryan Air, Germania and easyJet have all applied for more.
The Zeitfracht-Gruppe will take over AirBerlin’s maintenance unit, AirBerlin Technik, and 300 of its 850 employees will be retained.