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BER: Airlines are planning reduced flight offers

For the opening of BER, airlines are planning with low passenger numbers and are reacting with a reduced number of flights due to the Corona crisis. The largest operator in Berlin to date, the British airline EasyJet, has agreed with the trade unions to reduce the fleet stationed in Berlin from 34 aircraft to 18 last year.

To begin with, EasyJet is offering 46 routes to international destinations. In the coming year there should be 70 connections. "If the demand increases, we will expand our flight offer accordingly," it said. EasyJet is planning to start operations at BER with around 180 flights per week. For comparison: in 2019 there were around 250 flights per day from Berlin's Tegel and Schönefeld airports.

The largest German airline Lufthansa has not yet stationed its own aircraft at BER. It uses the airport primarily as a starting point for long-haul flights with a one-time change at the Frankfurt am Main or Munich hubs. For the start at BER, the airline plans with just 30 flights a day - about half as many as before the crisis.

The Lufthansa subsidiary Eurowings, in turn, will take off from BER for the first time on November 4th. According to its own information, the airline will initially offer 70 flights per week. The majority of these are domestic German connections. Of around 300 scheduled departures in November, only around 16 go abroad. "This shows the picture of the travel restrictions for most of the vacation destinations in Europe," said a company spokesman.

The low-cost airline Ryanair will also reduce its capacities at BER for the winter flight schedule - to 40 percent of the previous year, as the Irish airline announced. Ryanair will then serve around 27 international routes.

BER airport boss Engelbert Lütke Daldrup had recently expected a total of around 5,000 passengers on the opening day of the airport at the main terminal T1. With the Tegel closure a week later, around 16,000 passengers would then be processed at T1. Another 8,000 passengers would then travel via Schönefeld Airport, which serves as Terminal 5 of BER. In view of these low numbers, Terminal 2, which has already been completed, will not be needed for the time being and will therefore not open until spring.

Düsseldorf closes Terminal B

In Düsseldorf, too, the airport operators are reacting to the drop in air traffic in the pandemic and will close Terminal B from November 3rd. It is unclear whether and when all three terminals will be operational again. Gates B and C were already closed in the first Corona wave from mid-March to June, when air traffic almost came to a standstill. Pier A was open all the time.

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Like the entire aviation industry, Düsseldorf Airport is suffering from the effects of the pandemic. The airport is currently recording just 30 percent of the traffic volume and only 20 percent of the passenger volume of the previous year, said airport boss Thomas Schnalke three weeks ago. At that time, he put the current monthly losses of the airport at 20 to 30 million euros. Around half of the employees are therefore on short-time work.