The Creative Way Lufthansa Is Taking Over Airberlin’s Routes To The Caribbean

Filed Under: Airberlin, Lufthansa

Airberlin’s days are very much numbered. The airline filed for insolvency over a month ago, and has a temporary loan from the German government as airberlin’s creditors go through the process of selling off their assets. We know what companies are interested in buying airberlin’s limited assets. The airline leases most of their planes, so the only real value is some of their slots and terminal assignments, as well as the ease with which another airline can ramp up operations by taking over parts of airberlin (though hopefully with a better business model).

We’ve learned that airberlin will be discontinuing many of their longhaul flights as of September 25, 2017. This isn’t because they think they’ll run out of money as of that date, but rather because the company from which they’re leasing their A330s is taking them back as of that date, as they’re (understandably) scared they won’t be paid for them any longer.

This compromises most of airberlin’s A330 fleet, and as you might expect, it’s tough to operate longhaul flights without planes able to operate the routes. What’s especially interesting here is what will be happening with these planes.

German media is reporting that Lufthansa’s low cost Eurowings division will be leasing 10 A330s from AerCap as of November 2017, and will be launching flights to the Caribbean using those planes. According to the story, Eurowings will use these A330s to fly from Dusseldorf to Varadero, Punta Cana, Cancun, and Puerto Plata.

This is brilliant. We’ve known that Lufthansa has offered a sum in the hundreds of millions of Euros to take over parts of airberlin, including up to 90 planes. What they’re really paying for is the privilege of taking over the leases on planes, gates, existing agreements, etc. Perhaps to a greater extent, they’re paying in order to keep these routes and planes away from their competitors (this is especially true for short-haul flying, as EasyJet is keen to expand in Germany). However, if Lufthansa can get their hands on airberlin’s former planes and launch routes without much trouble, why would they pay airberlin extra for the privilege of facilitating it?

I’ll be curious to see if Lufthansa at all revises their offer in light of this.

Well played, Lufthansa.

  1. Sure hope they keep the current business class seats in those A330s, way better than EW’s own BEST offer (which is basically LH PE).

  2. For anyone interested,

    Just received the below yesterday (9/18) from Air Berlin for our October 7th flights from BOS – DUS – Milan roundtrip Business class tickets (returning on Oct 14th). If anyone has any tips, greatly appreciated.


    Dear passenger,

    Unfortunately, the flight you booked will not operate. We apologize for any inconvenience.
    We regret we are unable to offer you a suitable alternative for your service.

    If you bought your ticket on or after August 15th 2017 on, you will automatically be refunded the full ticket price to the form of payment on file. For the refund, you will receive a cancellation invoice.

    For tickets bought before August 15th 2017, reimbursement is not possible for insolvency reasons. In this case, however, you may submit your claim for reimbursement of the ticket price to be included in the insolvency table after the opening of the insolvency proceedings. You will automatically and unsolicitedly receive a form with further information after the opening of the insolvency proceedings. You will find further information on and in particular in the FAQ section published there.

    We once again wish to apologize for any inconvenience caused by the cancellation of your flight.

  3. “We’ve learned that airberlin will be discontinuing many of their longhaul flights as of September 25, 2018.”

    That’s a very long time where they’ll get to make arrangements. I assume you meant 2017?

  4. FYI for lucky gates in Europe are not owned or leased by airlines (except in some very rare cases) they are all managed by the airport on a CUTE basis.

  5. @Ugh Air Berlin

    Contact your credit card company and request a chargeback. A friend whose AB flight was also cancelled got reimbursed in two days.

  6. I just checked air Berlin and they are still showing my flights for departure from San Francisco on October 26 to Tel Aviv via Berlin and return on November 5, but instead of returning directly from Berlin to San Francisco I have to go through Düsseldorf. I also tried to make a new booking and found that possible for late November. So will air Berlin be flying these routes? Or will it be Lufthansa? Or can I also look forward to getting a letter canceling my trip.

  7. I have flights booked from Berlin to Stockholm on December 14, 2017. I’ve had no notifications of any sort from AB. Will this flight still go ahead. Garth from Australia

  8. I don’t know why you’re so excited about Lufthansa’s new monopoly! “Brilliant” from whose perspective? Are you a passenger or do you own LH shares? What a weird perspective, to take a giant corporation’s side in this situation. I guarantee that when they start raising prices and reducing award space you’ll be the first to complain Lucky

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