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August 15, 2017

Air Travel: Airberlin Files for Bankruptcy Protection; Bumped Passengers Fall

Airberlin’s decision to file for bankruptcy protection, new statistics showing bumped passengers declining in the United States and new nonstop flights on Delta are the top air travel stories impacting the meetings and events industry this week. 

Airberlin Files for Bankruptcy Protection; Lufthansa Could Buy Airline

Germany-based airline airberlin has filed for bankruptcy protection, and Etihad Airways, the airline’s codeshare partner and largest shareholder, has announced that it will not provide any further funding, Travel Agent reports. 

Etihad said that it provided EUR 250 million in additional funding to airberlin this past April, but that since then the airline’s business has “deteriorated at an unprecedented pace,” preventing it from implementing alternative solutions.

Etihad said that it expects airberlin’s operations to continue during the bankruptcy process.

Fellow German airline company Lufthansa Group (LHG) reports that it is in negotiations with airberlin to take over parts of its business.

“Lufthansa is supporting the restructuring efforts of the airline jointly with the German Government,” LHG said in a statement on its website. “This also ensures that all aircraft that are currently operated by airberlin under a wet lease agreement for Eurowings and Austrian Airlines will continue operating as before.” Eurowings and Austrian Airlines are also owned by LHG.

Bumped Passengers Down 29 Percent Since United Incident

The number of passengers being bumped from flights in the United States has declined since an April incident in which a bloodied passenger was dragged from a United Airlines airplane prompted widespread outrage, Travel Agent reports.

According to the latest Air Travel Consumer Report from the U.S. Department of Transportation, involuntary denied boardings (DB’s) were down 29 percent, falling from .62 DB’s per 10,000 passengers from April to June 2016 to 0.44 DB’s per 10,000 passengers for the same period this year.

United Airlines was struck by controversy in early April when a passenger posted a video to social media showing a bloodied passenger being dragged from an overbooked Chicago to Louisville flight. The airline had called for volunteers to be voluntarily bumped from the flight after they were seated and, when there were not enough, selected four passengers at random. One man, a doctor who said he needed to see patients the next day, refused to leave, and was dragged from the plane by police officers.

DB’s were down for the first half of the year as well, falling 16 percent from .62 DB’s per 10,000 passengers from January to June 2016 to .52 DB’s per 10,000 passengers for the same period this year. 

Delta Adds Nonstop Flights From Orlando To Amsterdam

In flight news, Delta has announced its first nonstop flight between Orlando International Airport and Amsterdam Airport, directly connecting central Florida to the Netherlands. The flight is scheduled to take off March 30, 2018.

Flights are scheduled on a Boeing 767-300ER aircraft, which offers Delta One, Delta Comfort+ and Main Cabin seating. All seats have Wi-Fi, in-flight entertainment screens, and power ports. Complimentary meals and beverages will also be provided in all cabins.

As of now, flights are scheduled to depart Orlando at 9:45 p.m. and arrive the next day in Amsterdam at 12:45 p.m. Flights returning from Amsterdam are scheduled to depart at 1:15 p.m. and land in Orlando at 5:41 p.m.

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