Photo Essay: Auf Wiedersehen, Air Berlin!

Pre-departure beverage service departing New York for Düsseldorf

By Christian Stampfer on 28 October 2017
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MUNICH—Air Berlin, which was founded as a U.S. company based in Oregon in 1978 to operate charter flights in and out of West Berlin, flew its final flight on October 28 after almost 40 years of plying the skies.

After the reunification of Germany, the airline was acquired by Joachim Hunold, a former German leisure airline LTU executive. It became a low-cost long-haul carrier in 2007 after acquiring LTU, and evolved into a full network carrier in the ensuing years.

Air Berlin was, however, far from alone. Earlier in October, Monarch Airlines, the Luton-based carrier that regularly ferried British holidaymakers to the Mediterranean and the Canary Islands, abruptly ceased operations. Two years ago, also in October, Transaero Airlines, Russia’s second largest carrier, stopped flying. Apparently, October hasn’t been a particularly good month for airlines.

The Air Berlin shutdown was orderly, as one would expect from a German company. By contrast, Monarch left over 100,000 people stranded and unable to get back to the United Kingdom.

Here is a look at Air Berlin in its final months.

Düsseldorf was one of the airline's two hubs.

Düsseldorf was one of the airline’s two hubs.

Passengers boarding an Air Berlin flight in Munich

Passengers boarding an Air Berlin flight in Munich

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