The first airberlin flight from Chicago to the German capital will take off on March 23, 2013. That makes airberlin the only airline to operate a non-stop service between these two major cities.
Announcing this new development after a meeting with Hartmut Mehdorn, CEO airberlin, Paul Gregorowitsch, CCO airberlin and Burkhard Kieker, Managing Director of visitBerlin, the Mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel, welcomed the commitment of the second largest German airline to the US.
“It is an honor to welcome a new airline to our great city that will bring business and leisure customers to the nation’s Heartland,” said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “airberlin will provide service from Chicago to Berlin that will compliment new American Airlines service from Chicago to Dusseldorf starting next April. Any time a new international route is added at O’Hare, it benefits the city. New flights mean new jobs and that means more opportunity for all the citizens of Chicago,” he added.
Hartmut Mehdorn, CEO airberlin, commented: “airberlin and the United States of America are linked by a long-standing and very close friendship. After all, airberlin was originally founded in 1978 as Air Berlin Inc. by US pilot Kim Lundgren. The further strengthening of our position in the USA as a result of this new non-stop service between Chicago and Berlin is therefore also close to our heart. Furthermore, we have revised our entire US route network and next year we will be reinforcing our presence specifically in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and Miami.”
Paul Gregorowitsch, CCO airberlin, added: “The key decisions for further growth in the US were taken by airberlin in the past two years: by becoming a member of oneworld® in March 2012 and optimizing the synergies derived from the airline alliance through continuously developing our codeshare flights with American Airlines. The start-up of the new Chicago service is a logical continuation of this strategy, since Chicago is also one of the largest hubs of our oneworld partner American Airlines. This means that, due to the expanded network, customers of both airberlin and American Airlines are now offered a wide range of connections in Europe and in the US.”
“Tourism and business relations between the US and Germany are booming. A service to Chicago, the heart of America, was something that was urgently needed,” remarked visitBerlin’s CEO Burkhard Kieker. “Chicago is one of the largest hubs of the oneworld airline alliance. airberlin and visitBerlin are working closely together to ensure the success of this new route.”
The visit to Chicago, airberlin’s new destination, marked the end to a joint trip to the US by airberlin and visitBerlin, a trip that was centered on the announcement of the new service to and from Chicago as well as the restructuring of airberlin’s network from summer 2013.
From March 2013 airberlin will be offering services to five destinations as part of its US network: Chicago, Fort Myers, Los Angeles, Miami and New York. The flight schedule is being modified with the aim of increasing efficiency. The important consideration was not to reduce but to transfer capacities, thereby enhancing the airline’s profile in strategic core markets. Against this background, airberlin will be increasing its non-stop flights to and from New York JFK, Los Angeles and Miami from May 2013 onwards, while at the same time cancelling its seasonal non-stop service between Dusseldorf and Las Vegas, San Francisco and Vancouver.
The new service between Chicago and Berlin will operate on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays in time for the start of the Easter holidays on March 23, 2013. When the summer timetable comes into effect on May 1, 2013, airberlin will be increasing the number of weekly non-stop flights from three to five, so that there will also be a service on Wednesdays and Sundays from the city on Lake Michigan to the German capital. Chicago is currently connected – via the Berlin hub – to eight German cities as well as eleven further destinations in Europe, including Vienna, Zurich, Helsinki, Gothenburg, Oslo, Stockholm and Moscow. Especially the two Polish cities of Krakow and Warsaw now have excellent connections to the Windy City. airberlin will even be incorporating its service between Berlin and Warsaw in the schedule on the same day as the Chicago flights and, thanks to excellent transfer arrangements, will be offering one of the world’s largest Polish communities outside Poland a fast connection to the Polish capital.
The new airberlin service between Chicago and Berlin is also planned as a codeshare flight with American Airlines. In return airberlin will be transferring its flight number to the new American Airlines route from Chicago to Dusseldorf, which will start in April 2013. Furthermore, the codeshare arrangement is to be extended to numerous domestic US routes in and out of Chicago operated by American Airlines.
The new flight will be taking off from Chicago O’Hare International Airport at 15.25 h to land in Berlin at 07:00 h local time on the following day. The flight heading in the other direction will take off at 10:00 h from Berlin and arrive in Chicago at 12.10 h. The route will be operated with an Airbus A330-200 in two-class configuration (economy and business class). The flight time will be around nine hours.