Air Berlin long-haul shutting down completely

Air Berlin previously announced many long-haul route cuts effective over the next couple weeks. But the route network from Dusseldorf was mostly untouched. That changed today as the company set an 15 October 2017 date to wrap up the long-haul operations.

That part of the network is shutting down because the aircraft are leased; the real owners are taking the planes back given that the airline isn’t really keen on making those lease payments any more.

And it is not just the long-haul routes that are changing. “Further adjustments in the timetable” are expected according to Group CEO Thomas Winkelmann in a presentation today in Germany. In other words, get ready for more flights to be scrapped as the remaining bits of the company are distributed to other airlines. Flights from Munich to Hamburg and Cologne/Bonn at the end of this week.

The news comes as Lufthansa and EasyJet are tapped as the likely winners of Air Berlin’s assets; the disposition must still be approved by EU regulators. A full announcement of what goes where is still pending. Final negotiations are expected to complete by 12 October.

The future for Air Berlin employees remains in flux, with Winkelmann hoping that approximately 80% are able to transition to positions with the new owners. That still leaves some 1,600 likely out of work when all is said and done.

Perhaps the biggest challenge for the company is remaining vaguely functional for the next several weeks while these changes are made. The cuts help reduce staffing and operational needs. They also make it hard to keep employees motivated.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


  1. My return flight is October 13th from Salzburg, Austria to Berlin Tegel and Berlin Tegel to Los Angeles LAX via Air Berlin. Will these flights be affected?
    I read that the long haul flights will end October 15th.

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