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Cars and Transportation

Auf Wiedersehen: Air Berlin’s last flight melts hearts

October 28, 2017

Insolvent German carrier Air Berlin has flown its last flight. It was a heartfelt event for many passengers and employees.

Deutschland | 38 Jahre Air Berlin | Letzter Flug Air Berlin
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/M. Balk

The last flight of bankrupt German airline Air Berlin landed Friday, ending nearly 40 years of history for Germany's second largest airline.

Flight AB 6210 from Munich landed at Berlin-Tegel airport at 23:45, but not before the pilots changed the flight number to BER4EVER.

Cruising over the Berlin capital the pilots created a heart-shaped flight path, according to Flightradar24. 

The "airline with a heart" is known for giving passengers heart-shaped chocolates upon disembarkation.

Before departing from Munich Air Berlin said a farewell to its passengers and employees.

"Air Berlin thanks on this sad day at all the staff, partners and passengers who passed us who have given their hearts and their loyalty for many years,” the company said in a statement.

Hundreds of observers gathered at Berlin Tegel to witness Air Berlin's last landing, with the fire brigades giving the Airbus A320 a water cannon salute.

For some, it was an emotional experience to see an end of an era for an airline that carried nearly half a billion passengers since 1979.

"I always liked flying with Air Berlin, it always had such a certain something, for example with the chocolate hearts," said one visitor. "It is sad that this traditional brand disappears from the German and international air market."

Air Berlin filed for bankruptcy in August after its funding was cut off by Etihad, one of its major shareholders. A German government loan of €150 million ($174 million) helped keep the airline afloat for the following weeks.

Germany's flagship carrier Lufthansa will take control of 81 of its 134 jets. It will also take on 3,000 Air Berlin employees. The fate of thousands of other Air Berlin employees is uncertain.


As part of the deal, Lufthansa will take over Air Berlin's low-cost leisure airline Niki and its LG Walter regional airline.

The sale still needs approval from creditors and European Union anti-trust authorities to take effect.

Separately on Saturday, Easyjet said it would buy part of Air Berlin's operations at Tegel airport. The low-cost British carrier will lease up to 25 A320 aircraft and a buy Air Berlin's take-off and landing rights at Tegel. The deal was valued at €40 million. It also said up to 1,000 Air Berlin employees could be recruited.


cw/sms(AFP, dpa)