Air Berlin long-haul pilots were determined to commemorate the last long-haul flights for the beleaguered airline. In a series of questionable sendoffs, Air Berlin pilots commenced a wing-wave departure from Düsseldorf and another flight buzzed the tower upon return. It was an odd sendoff for an airline bankruptcy that is anything but normal.
In this first video, you can see the last AirBelin departure receiving a water-cannon salute by the airport rescue crew at Dusseldorf earlier in the day. This is a traditional salute to commemorate the last flight. Not a big deal and a nice sign of respect to Europe’s 11th largest airline.
But then on departure, the AirBerlin’s A330 pilots decided to do a wing wave with passengers onboard. It’s not exactly an unsafe maneuver but its not exactly typical for an airliner either.
And this flyover now under investigation…
On arrival back in Düsseldorf, the last AirBerlin A330 flight-ever coordinated with tower for a low approach and flyby of the tower and terminal. Video shot from both the tower and the tarmac show that the jet was only 150-200 feet above the ground as it commenced the non-standard ‘missed approach’. The flyby appears to have been coordinated with tower as footage of the event was actually filmed from the tower. The jet later returned for an uneventful landing. According to an AirBerlin spokesperson, the investigation is under investigation. Both views of the flyby available on Youtube are shown below:
AirBerlin is an unusual bankruptcy
AirBerlin might be the most interesting and odd bankruptcy ever. In most airline bankruptcies, the airline either continues to fly with infused cash as it undergoes reorganization or folds immediately due to a lack of available cash. That was the case when Monarch shuttered earlier this month as thousands of travelers were left stranded.
In AirBerlin’s case, the airline filed for insolvency on August 15th but continued to fly. After AirBerlin was unable to secure additional funding, the airline announced that it would cease all services by October 28th. Tickets purchased for service after October 28th could be refunded if they were purchased after August 15th. If a customer purchased a ticket before August 15th, they were out of luck. A few weeks after the initial insolvency announcement, the airline announced that Lufthansa Group had reached a deal with the airline to purchase much of the short-haul assets from the bankrupt airline. The airline announced that long-haul services would cease on October 17th. Short haul flying will continue for the next week and a half. Flying by their subsidiary Niki is unaffected by the bankruptcy.