North Atlantic: BER faces permanent loss of Los Angeles flights

Berlin Airport would like more long-haul routes. But Norse quickly halted its flights to Los Angeles – saying they wanted to operate them seasonally. But even that is shaking now.

There were airline executives, representatives of politics and business, and of course the press. Norse Atlantic and Berlin Brandenburg Airport celebrated the first flight to Los Angeles in style. But just eight weeks later it happened again.

“The winter season is traditionally more challenging for the industry and this year will be further burdened by high fuel prices, rising inflation in the markets we serve and uncertain overall demand,” an airline spokesperson told aeroTELEGRAPH in October.

No mention in the previous summer timetable

As a result, it has reduced some frequencies from Oslo and Berlin to the US and now plans to operate flights to Los Angeles on a seasonal basis. But it is not clear whether Los Angeles will actually return. Berlin-Los Angeles is not listed in the routes for the summer flight schedule published by Norse on Wednesday (November 9).

When asked by aeroTELEGRAPH, a spokesperson for the airline said that this is only the first series of destinations and more will be opened in December. Whether flights from Berlin to the US West Coast will be included is yet to be said.

Poor occupancy in October

A person is still evaluating which goals make sense, the spokesperson said. The fact that no result has yet been achieved in Los Angeles does not necessarily give cause for hope. And load figures reported by the airline on Tuesday (November 8) also point to further thinning of the flight schedule.

Last month, utilization was only 60 percent. The low-cost, long-haul carrier is now looking to improve both revenue and ailing load factors by reducing its route network.

Only a few long-distance routes from Berlin

Oslo-based Norse Atlantic Airways was founded by owner Bjørn Tore Larsen, who is also the airline’s CEO. Former Norwegian founders Bjørn Kjos and Bjørn Kise will be there. It started the year with an average occupancy of around 75 percent, but that quickly dropped to just 69 percent in August and a paltry 58 percent in September.

Permanent removal of Los Angeles flights would be a setback for BER Airport. Because: BER doesn’t offer many long-haul destinations to the capital’s airport. The Lufthansa Group flies from Berlin to its hubs in Frankfurt, Munich and Zurich to carry passengers on intercontinental routes. That won’t change for now – even if the airline’s first Dreamliner is named “Berlin”.

New Norwegian route from December

Next summer there will be flights to New York JFK from Norwegian and Newark from United, and Delta also wants to fly New York JFK. United has been planning flights to Washington since May — which were supposed to start in 2022 and then have been delayed.

Qatar Airways also flies to the airport, Scoot serves Berlin-Singapore and Hainan Airlines flies to Beijing via Dalian with a weekly stopover. Already in December, Norse wants to try another long-haul route and fly to Fort Lauderdale. Tickets can be booked and are still on the schedule.

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