Airberlin currently operates service to Miami out of both Dusseldorf and Berlin. As it stands, the Miami to Dusseldorf flight is daily, while the Miami to Berlin flight is 5x weekly.
I flew airberlin business class from Miami to Dusseldorf just a few months ago, and quite enjoyed my flight. It’s a great use of oneworld miles for travel to Europe, given that they don’t impose fuel surcharges, regardless of whether you book through American AAdvantage or British Airways Executive Club.
Airberlin A330 business class
Airberlin’s service to Miami makes sense, given that:
- Miami is a oneworld hub, so there’s lots of connecting traffic on both ends
- Miami is the second most popular US destination for Germans, after New York
So I’m quite surprised that airberlin has announced that they’ll discontinue their Miami to Berlin flight as of May 4, 2015. Apparently they have plans to expand out of Dusseldorf to both Los Angeles and New York JFK, so I guess they don’t have enough planes to expand and keep their existing Miami service.
Why does route cancellation surprise me so much?
Fort Myers over Miami?!
One of the more random transatlantic routes out there is Dusseldorf to Fort Myers, which airberlin operates a few times a week. I think it’s safe to say that it’s almost exclusively a leisure route, and that makes sense since airberlin is mostly a leisure airline. They’ve actually operated this route for 20 years now, which is pretty amazing.
Still, is it really possible that Fort Myers is a more lucrative market than Miami? With the Miami route you have the potential for connecting traffic on both ends, while with the Fort Myers route you only have the potential for connecting traffic on one end.
Or is there some level of pride involved, whereby airberlin doesn’t want to leave a market they’ve been in for 20 years?
Anyway, I’m sure they’ve crunched the numbers, but it just surprises me that a Fort Myers to Dusseldorf route does better than a Miami to Berlin route.
Should American take over the route?
Interestingly this announcement comes shortly after American’s CEO Doug Parker announced their intention to resume service between Miami and Frankfurt as of early 2015. While the details haven’t been finalized, my assumption is that the Miami to Frankfurt flight will come at the expense of one of their other Frankfurt routes, either out of Charlotte or Philadelphia.
Will the Miami to Frankfurt route work?
- Lufthansa has daily A380 service between Frankfurt and Miami, so American is at a huge disadvantage
- American doesn’t have many opportunities for connecting traffic in Frankfurt, since it’s a Star Alliance hub
- American likely won’t be gaining much business traffic, so at best they’re looking at leisure traffic, which isn’t the most profitable
Given that, wouldn’t it make more sense for American to potentially take over the Miami to Berlin route?
- Berlin has a population that’s about 5x as big as Frankfurt’s
- American wouldn’t have any competition on the route
- American would have opportunities for connecting traffic on both ends, thanks to their own network in Miami and airberlin’s network in Berlin
This route cut on the part of airberlin isn’t all that significant, it’s just interesting. Airberlin is in a bad financial situation, so I can appreciate them trying to optimize their network. It might not even be that the Miami to Berlin route is performing horribly, but rather just that they think they can make more money on another route.
With American’s announcement of the new Miami to Frankfurt route and airberlin’s announcement of cutting Miami to Berlin shortly thereafter, it just seems like there’s an opportunity for them to work together.
What do you think?