Thursday, September 15, 2016

Long-Haul Destinations from Berlin, Summer 2015

Like many a good German airport company, the management of Berlin Tegel issues a printed timetable for traveler's reference. As we conclude the present series of posts on operations at Tegel in the Summer of 2015, this map offers an appropriate conclusion. 

There are two many cities here to feature in one or even two posts, and it is not particularly noteworthy that the German capital is connected to some three dozen other cities across Europe. This week we have, however, discussed a bit about the somewhat peculiar circumstances of Berlin's commercial air transportation, still divided between multiple airports, awaiting the long-delayed opening of its 21st century hub.

In the meantime, tiny Tegel, something of the LaGuardia of central Europe, squeezes in only a handful of long-hual flights, in part due to the city's dispersion of air traffic and in part due to the 
centralization of airline operations around Lufthansa's Frankfurt megahub and Munich base. 

Hometown carrier Air Berlin does the city some good turns, particularly the high-prestige widebody services to New York JFK and Chicago O'Hare. United offers the only US Flag appearance, with its 767 flights to Newark (although these are sometimes ignominiously downgraded to narrow body 757s in the winter). Delta Air Lines just announced this month that it will soon return to Tegel, which is symbolically important as Tegel was such an important base for Pan-Am's intra-Europe operations that Delta inherited. Air Berlin also flies to Reykjavík-Keflavík and a number of warm-weather leisure destinations. 

Perhaps more interesting are the handful of airlines connecting eastward to Asia. Azerbaijan Airlines was just recently featured here, and Qatar Airways scored a coup when it beat out Emirates for service to the Gulf—although Etihad snuck in through its ownership stake in Air Berlin, which flies non-stop to Abu Dhabi. Iraqi Airways makes for more fun planespotting, flying to both Erbil and Baghdad. This post is the first time we've featured the Iraqi flag carrier. 

Hainan Airlines added Berlin to its European system in 2012 along with Brussels and Budapest, and connects to Beijing with a A330-200 (rather than one of its Dreamliners). But what is surely the most unusual airline landing in Reinickendorf is MIAT Mongolian Airlines, which has actually long-served Berlin, landing its A310s at Schönefeld since at least the late 1990s. The Mongolian flag carrier currently operates one its gorgeously painted B767-300s via Moscow Sheremetyevo airport, and this post marks its premier on the Timetablist.  Although the airline also flies twice-weekly non-stop to Frankfurt, and once served Prague, Berlin is one its only European gateways. 

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