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Germany

New York-Berlin Direct Flights Resume

Direct flights between Berlin and New York City resumed on Tuesday, three years after the link was scrapped in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States. The first flight, operated by US airline Delta, from New York's JFK International Airport, touched down at Berlin-Tegel airport on Tuesday morning before returning in the opposite direction a few hours later. Germany's national carrier Lufthansa was the last airline to offer flights to New York, but the Berlin-New York route has been seen as unprofitable since passenger number dropped following the 2001 attacks. However, Delta is reporting strong bookings for its new service with the business class sections of planes already 80 percent full for the first three months, the airline's vice president Jim Whitehurst said in a press conference in Berlin. Delta's rival Continental Airlines is to offer a daily service to Newark, New Jersey, in the metropolitan New York area, from July 1. Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit said the new service would "eliminate the disadvantage" Berlin suffered from lacking a direct flight to New York. Negotiations are currently under way to provide direct flights from the German capital to Hong Kong and Shanghai. Passengers flying from Berlin currently have to change at Frankfurt or other German airports before making long-haul flights.

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