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Last trip for the Air Berlin (chocolate) heartLast trip for the Air Berlin (chocolate) heart

Last trip for the Air Berlin (chocolate) heart

27.10.2017: An era is drawing to a close/ 16 years of Air Berlin at Salzburg Airport/ 15.760 flights operated from Salzburg/ Almost 4 million passengers during this period of time/ Lufthansa takes over parts of Air Berlin

The flight number AB 8527 will be remembered for a long time in Salzburg! It is the last flight number of an Air Berlin flight you will be able to see in Salzburg, since today, Friday, October 27th it is time to say “Farewell Air Berlin”. At 8:50 pm the las red and white Air Berlin-aircraft will take off from Austria´s second largest airport and fly to Düsseldorf. At this point the insolvent airline will cease operations. There is something else that will stay in passengers´ minds: the Air Berlin chocolate heart wrapped in red tinfoil, which was handed to them by a friendly stewardess, when disembarking, saying: “Thanks for flying with Air Berlin”. With Air Berlin having gone insolvent, a period of aviation history comes to an end. In Salzburg, Air Berlin has been a fixed component in our aviation segment since October 29th 2002. In the course of this period Air Berlin operated 15.760 flights transporting nearly 4 million passengers from or to Salzburg.


“We wish all Air Berlin-employees all the best for their future! I am certain that we will see many of them again in Salzburg, flying for a different airline – maybe Eurowings? It is also an exciting and challenging time for the Lufthansa subsidiary to form future aviation in Europe”, says Roland Hermann, CEO of Salzburg Airport.


Air Berlin in retrospect

Under Joachim Hunold, the founder of the Air Berlin, the airline developed from a simple charter company to an airline that offered a “seat only”-strategy for the market as well. In 2001 the airline already had 25 Boeing 737-800 aircrafts and offered holiday flights from 14 German airports.


In 2004 Hunold purchased 24% of the Austrian Flyniki and only two years later the German air company dba, which caused passenger figures to rise to nearly 19.7 million. Only a year later Hunold took over the German company LTU and bought shares of the Swiss airline Belair.


In 2010 Joachim Hunold bought the entire 100% of all Flyniki shares and Air Berlin joined the oneworld-alliance. Code-share-agreements with American Airlines and Finnair opened the network to the American and a broader European market. An additional 40 routes could be established in cooperation with British Airways. By 2012 Air Berlin was able to offer a global network of more than 800 destinations in 150 countries. A change of the Managing Director had already taken place a year before, when Hartmut Mehdorn became CEO instead of Joachim Hunold. He tried to bring the company back on track with different restructuring measures. Unfortunately unsuccessfully! As a consequence 70% of the company where sold to Etihad for 184 million Euros.


In 2013 Wolfgang Prock became the new Air Berlin-CEO. Under his direction more than 900 Air Berlin-employees had to be dismissed and salary waiver had to be accepted. By mid-2013 there were only 10 self-owned-aircrafts left, the rest of the fleet was leased or operated by a sale-lease-back-system. There were more changes in the management in the coming years. After Stefan Pichler, Thomas Winkelmann assumed responsibility for the business.


Then happened, what had to happen: on August 15th 2017, after Etihad had refused any further financial support, Air Berlin applied to begin insolvency. Today Thomas Winkelmann, Lucas Flöther, trustee of the creditors, and chief representative Frank Kebekus, seek to make the transition from Air Berlin to the potential new owner as smooth as possible.