Air Berlin confirms full longhaul shutdown at Tegel (TXL)

Air Berlin A320 by Silvio Kelch via CC-SA

So long Berlin long-haul. Air Berlin is confirmed to be cutting all of its long-haul routes from Berlin’s Tegel airport (TXL) as its insolvency proceeds. The latest news confirms the ending of the last two routes not previously dated and comes as the European Union approves the 150mm euro loan from the German government to help the carrier bridge operations as it seeks to sell off pieces.

The final operating dates for the routes are:

  • New York City – 25 September 2017
  • Miami – 25 September 2017
  • Chicago – 30 September 2017
  • Los Angeles – 1 October 2017
  • San Francisco – 1 October 2017
  • Abu Dhabi – 17 September, 1 October 2017 (2x daily, staged shutdown)

The company is also trimming longhaul operations at its Dusseldorf hub, with Orlando service dropping on 25 September and Boston on 1 October. Passengers booked for travel after these dates should be looking for alternate travel options at this point.

Read more: Air Berlin files for bankruptcy protection

In addition to the route cuts Air Berlin customers also face insolvency in the Top Bonus loyalty program. While most program benefits are theoretically still in place earning and redemption of points is gone and there are rumors of other benefits (e.g. 3rd party/partner lounge access for elites) not being honored consistently, though it is unclear if that’s a real problem or just confused employees making up rules.

Read more: TopBonus suspends operations, and I’m actually surprised

Long-haul is not completely disappearing from Tegel with these cuts, though the impact will be significant. United Airlines and Delta Air Lines each still operate service to their NYC-area hubs from TXL.

Read More: A Ryanair bid for Alitalia doesn’t make any sense

As for how much longer Air Berlin operates as an independent brand after these cuts take effect, odds are the measure is days to weeks, not months. While a restructuring and continued service is theoretically possible with the bridge loan the reality is that the sell off of assets will likely be agreed upon mid-month. Lufthansa Group is in the driver’s seat for such. Rehabilitation specialist Intro Group reportedly wants to bid previously wanted in but now is out of the game. The company complained it was unable to access sufficient details about the Air Berlin operations to create a proper bid.

Ryanair similarly suggested interest in bidding, just like with Alitalia, though that appears on the surface more about access to internal data than a serious bid for the assets.

Header image: Air Berlin A320 by Silvio Kelch via Flickr/CC-SA

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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. Bigger problem is what will AA rebook you on? It’ll be interesting to see what inventory it tries to force open given that it has no direct service to TXL. Or will AA try to make you pay the BA YQ idiocy for that invol rebooking??

    2. A BA schedule change on a LHR-OTP flight (interestingly it’s part of my outbound with TXL-ORD my return…) caused a 26 hour layover in LHR and AA rebooked me on an earlier ORD-LHR on BA vs my later AA flight and don’t ask for YQ. Maybe they’ll route me through LHR or MAD and do the same? Hoping.

  1. Thanks for sharing this news, and allowing us to see a bit more about what Air Berlin’s news means. Thanks again, Alastair Majury.

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