Airlines Air Berlin bids farewell after 39 years of flying
The last Air Berlin flight has touched down at Berlin-Tegel on Friday, marking the end of existence for the German airline. AB6210 (callsign “BER4EVER”), inbound from Munich, landed at 23:45 local time and was said goodbye by the airport fire brigade with a water salute. Over 400 aviation enthusiasts witnessed the final landing from the visitor terrace at Berlin-Tegel Airport.
Over the past years, Air Berlin struggled with its finances. On 15 August 2017, Air Berlin filed for insolvency, as Etihad – Air Berlin’s largest shareholder - withdrew its ongoing support. The frequent changes of CEO´s in the past 10 years didn’t help to get back to winning ways.
During the insolvency proceedings, Lufthansa has made a bid on 81 of the 140 aircraft, including all jets from Air Berlin’s subsidiaries NIKI and LGW. This acquisition will lead to a rapid expansion of Eurowings, Lufthansa´s low-cost subsidiary. On October 28 2017, Easyjet agreed on taking over 25 Airbus A320 aircraft from Air Berlin.
Air Berlin was founded in 1978 as a United States airline, and was therefore able to access the West Berlin airline market during the Cold War. One year later, in 1979, the first Air Berlin jet took off to Palma de Mallorca. This marked the beginning of the famous Mallorca-Shuttle. By the end of the “Four Power Agreement” in 1991, Joachim Hunold and Kim Lundgren found the German “Air Berlin GmbH & Co. Luftverkehrs KG”. By the end of the 1990s,
Air Berlin introduced the Mallorca-Shuttle to 12 German cities, purchased 26 new Boeing 737 and became member of the IATA. The boom continued and by 2003, Air Berlin was Germany´s second biggest airline. In 2004 Air Berlin ordered 60 Airbus aircraft (+40 options). Henceforth, Air Berlin not only concentrated on the leisure-sector to bring holidaymakers to Spain or Greece, but also on Inner-European business routes. Between 2004 and 2007, Air Berlin acquired a 24,9% interest in NIKI, the German airline dba and in 2007 the German airline LTU. After the acquisition of LTU, Air Berlin ordered 25 Boeing 787 and became shareholder in Belair Airlines AG (49,9% of interest).
In 2010, NIKI was fully consolidated, and Air Berlin announced membership in the Oneworld Alliance. 2011 marked the begin of strategic co-operations between Air Berlin and Etihad. Between 2012 and 2017 restructuring measures were issued, but didn´t prevent the insolvency in August 2017.
Source © Air Berlin