Insolvent carrier Air Berlin exits the market; Lufthansa steps in – at least partially. Today (27 Sep) the German national carrier announced taking over key long-haul routes from former competitor Air Berlin. This way, the loss of intercontinental connections Berlin and Dusseldorf feared to be hit by as consequence of Air Berlin’s forthcoming disappearance will be cushioned.
Berlin Airport’s Senior Manager Aviation Marketing / Air Freight, Torsten Jueling reacts somehow eased to Lufthansa’s announcement to put Berlin on their map again after a long-lasting absence of
the Crane airline in Germany’s capital city. As of November 8, LH will offer five weekly flights between Berlin Tegel and New York JFK, operating an Airbus A330-300. The upcoming transatlantic
flight complements United Airlines’ daily service Tegel-Newark with Boeing 767 equipment, capable of uplifting 10 tons of cargo. “Thanks to the upcoming LH flight shippers and forwarders are
offered double daily services for transporting their goods across the North Atlantic,” Torsten states. So no much capacity loss for air freight on that important route.
Gap in North America network remains
In contrast to scheduled flights between Berlin and Chicago, Miami, San Francisco and Los Angeles that were operated by Air Berlin but will all be gone by mid-October latest, when the last of AB’s 14 formerly leased A330s will be returned to its lessor.
Other intercontinental operations to and from Berlin are not affected by AB’s collapse. Qatar Airways has withdrawn their A330 and replaced it with the larger Boeing 777, which practically doubles the freight capacity from formerly 15 tons to 30 tons. Beijing will continue to be served 5/7 by Hainan Airlines, operating an Airbus A330, Toronto 4/7 by Air Canada Rouge (B767) and Berlin-Ulan Bator, a rather exotic route, is flown by Mongolian carrier MIAT with B767 or B737 – depending on pax demand.
Torsten’s message to Berlin’s shippers and the local forwarding community: “All in all we could have been hit much harder by Air Berlin’s insolvency, but we are confident that other carriers will take over routes successively served by AB in the past.”
LH is back in DUS
A similar situation exists in Dusseldorf, Air Berlin’s second former intercontinental hub next to Berlin, given up by Lufthansa in 2015 on grounds of economic inefficiencies. However, as of next winter, LH will resume DUS-MIA, “a much requested route by travelers,” reasons their management. Supposedly a financially attractive target again after Air Berlin’s drawback.
LH’s low cost daughter Eurowings is also expanding its long-haul product in the coming winter schedules, adding further services from both Cologne/Bonn and Duesseldorf airports. In addition to the six Airbus A330s that are already based at Cologne/Bonn, Eurowings will be putting a seventh aircraft into long-haul service from 8 November, which will initially operate flights from Duesseldorf to Caribbean destinations.
Neither LH nor Eurowings compensate the capacity losses DUS is reporting but at least Lufthansa’s announcement is a first step to close the gap in the airport’s intercontinental network caused by Air Berlin’s market exit.
Hopefully, steps two and three will follow suit.