New oneworld member Air Berlin has significantly strengthened its long-haul network between Germany and the United States by launching twice-weekly service between Dusseldorf and Las Vegas on May 10, and three-times-weekly service between Berlin and Los Angeles on May 11.
In addition, Air Berlin has announced that this year, for the first time, it will upgrade its formerly seasonal Dusseldorf-Los Angeles service to a year-round service. The service will now operate throughout the winter as well as summer, with three weekly flights.
Air Berlin will also increase its year-round Dusseldorf-Miami schedule from four to six round-trips a week.
On May 11, representatives of Air Berlin, Los Angeles World Airports, the City of Los Angeles and the German Consulate gathered at Los Angeles International Airport to celebrate the launch of the new non-stop service from Los Angeles to Berlin with speeches and a traditional cake-cutting ceremony.
Bearing the flight number AB7023, Air Berlin’s first Berlin-Los Angeles flight took off from Berlin-Tegel Airport (IATA code TXL) at 12:45 p.m. local time and landed at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) at 2:50 p.m. local time. A water cannon salute greeted the Airbus A330-200 on its arrival.
“Air Berlin is a German aviation success story but has, at the same time, strong historic ties with the U.S.,” remarked Mats Jacobsson, vice president international sales for Air Berlin. “The company’s origin can be traced back to the U.S., where it was incorporated by a former Pan Am pilot in the State of Oregon 34 years ago, in 1978.
“Only after the Wall came down did Air Berlin set on its course as a German airline,” continued Jacobsson. “Given that traditional close relationship between Air Berlin and the U.S., we are particularly proud to launch the new non-stop connection between the two metropolises Berlin and Los Angeles today.”
Jacobsson added: “The new Los Angeles-Berlin service allows us to further strengthen Air Berlin’s presence in one of its strategic cornerstone markets and also has a strong symbolic character, because Berlin and Los Angeles are this year celebrating the 45th anniversary of their partnership as sister cities.”
“The airline’s transoceanic nonstop service to Berlin – LAX’s 57th international destination – is a prime example of the type of quality air service we want to attract to LAX as we continue our $4.1-billion LAneXt modernization program,” said Gina Marie Lindsey, Los Angeles World Airports executive director.
“We appreciate the airline’s confidence in us as we undertake construction to more than double the size of the Tom Bradley International Terminal to 2.2 million square feet (204,387 square meters),” added Lindsey. “We are scheduled to open several of the 18 new gates and 150,000 square feet (13,935 square meters) of premium retail, dining and other passenger amenities for travelers next Spring.”
As of May 11, Air Berlin is operating three non-stop flights a week from Los Angeles to Berlin, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The carrier is also operating three non-stop flights from Los Angeles to Dusseldorf, Air Berlin’s second hub in Germany, on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
A day previously, on May 10, Air Berlin began its new, twice-weekly Dusseldorf-Las Vegas service. Flight number AB7498 took off from Dusseldorf International Airport (DUS) at 1:55 p.m. local time and landed at Las Vegas McCarran International Airport (LAS) at 4:15 p.m. local time, a water-cannon salute greeting the Airbus A330-200 upon its arrival.
Passengers were greeted upon arrival by a classic “Viva Las Vegas” welcome featuring showgirls in full costume.
Also meeting the aircraft at Las Vegas were Titus Johnson, vice president sales and marketing, Americas, for Air Berlin; Randall Walker, director of aviation for Clark County; and Rossi Ralenkotter, president and CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.
“Our statistics show approximately 60,000 German travelers fly into McCarran International Airport each year,” said Walker. “Adding twice-weekly service from Air Berlin, Germany’s second-largest airline, coupled with McCarran’s new Terminal 3 expansion, should further increase that total by making it easier than ever for travelers to fly between Las Vegas and western Germany.”
Air Berlin’s new Dusseldorf-Las Vegas service operates on Thursday and Sundays. With the connections to Las Vegas and Los Angeles, Air Berlin now offers non-stop flights from seven gateways in North America: New York JFK, San Francisco, Miami, Fort Myers and Vancouver are the other five.
The airline is operating Airbus A330-200 aircraft, offering a two-class configuration with a total of 299 or 303 seats, on both new U.S. routes.
In January, Air Berlin introduced the first of its A330-200s refurbished with new seats in Business and Economy Class and a new in-flight entertainment system.
In Business Class, each new fully-automatic seat reclines 170 degrees, which allows it to be transformed into a bed 71 inches long and 20 inches wide. Every Business Class seat has a connection for a laptop or other electronic device. Following the interior upgrade, each A330-200 Business Class cabin has a total of 20 seats.
New light-weight seats have been installed in Air Berlin’s A330-200 Economy Class cabins. Use of slimmer back rests allows more leg room and increases each passenger’s “living space”. After the interior upgrade, each A330-200 Economy cabin has 279 seats.
Air Berlin is Germany’s second-largest airline. The carrier has a workforce of 9,200 employees and a fleet of 170 aircraft with an average age of five years, making it one of the most modern fleets in Europe.
As one of the major European airlines, Air Berlin flies to 162 destinations in 40 countries. In 2011, it carried more than 35 million passengers. Air Berlin became a member of the oneworld alliance on March 20.