Lufthansa is stepping up efforts to carry displaced Air Berlin passengers in Berlin. Two short-term changes will provide immediate relief to travelers while long-term plans should also help add capacity into the market. And, for German fans of the 747 who don’t want to fly so far this is a spectacular AvGeek opportunity.
Lufthansa is set to operate flights from Berlin to New York’s JFK airport beginning in November. Air Berlin axed that route (along with the rest of its Berlin long-haul network) this week as its A330s were returned to the lessor.
Four more Air Berlin A330s on their way to storage.
D-ALPC | PI | PJ
📡 https://t.co/eVgvWMVU8w pic.twitter.com/vxYm4v8cov
— Flightradar24 (@flightradar24) September 25, 2017
Lufthansa last operated Transatlantic from Berlin in 2001. The route is expected to transition to the Eurowings group in Spring 2018.
Read More: Air Berlin confirms full longhaul shutdown at Tegel (TXL)
That transition is part of Eurowings’ plan to add three extra A330s to its fleet in early 2018, getting to 10 aircraft from the previously planned 7. Expect a couple other now-defunct Air Berlin routes to come back as well, though the company has not yet announced which.
LH's Supervisory Board creates conditions for rapid growth of @Eurowings: approves acquisition of up to 61 aircraft https://t.co/xSg0o7v8En pic.twitter.com/cun5nPguak
— Lufthansa News (@lufthansaNews) September 26, 2017
4 Engines 4 Shorthaul
No, the Avro is not going to fly in Lufty livery but the 747-400 is coming to Berlin. Lufthansa will use the jumbo to fly passengers between Berlin and Frankfurt up to thrice daily in the month of November, presumably to increase connecting passenger capacity for long-haul routes from its main hub.
The short-term domestic 747 service is relatively easy to schedule in during the slower winter season. As things pick back up in the Spring and Summer the disposition of Air Berlin’s assets should be known (Lufthansa is expected to take a big part of the company) and the operations will return to a more normal state.
Read More: Air Berlin long-haul shutting down completely
The service also offers an opportunity for travelers who still want a 747-400 experience to snag one on a short hop, assuming they’re already in Germany. I do wonder if it will take longer to get the 300+ passengers on and off the plane than it will to fly the 270 miles between the airports.
It is rare to find the type flying shorter routes and increasingly rare to find it flying at all, though Lufthansa and British Airways do plan to keep the 747s flying for several years yet.
Header Image: Lufthansa, Boeing 747-400 D-ABVO NRT via Masakatsu Ukon/Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0
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