History: On 28thApril 1979, a Boeing 707 took off from Berlin-Tegel for Palma de Mallorca. This inaugural flight was the start of airberlin’s success story.
The story of the company’s foundation began in the USA in a rather unusual way. During the oil crisis of the 1970s, A US pilot, Kim Lundgren, lost his job at Pan American. Instead of going back to the USA, he realised his dream and set up a charter airline. In 1978, the airline was incorporated in the US state of Oregon under the name “Air Berlin Inc.”. This was because at that time, before the reunification of Germany, air traffic to and from Berlin was restricted to airlines from the Allied countries. The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 brought a new challenge. Kim Lundgren lost his special privileges to Berlin and had to look for German majority shareholders.
In April 1991, Joachim Hunold purchased an 82.5% share in the company and thereby founded Air Berlin GmbH & Co. Luftverkehrs KG. The airline started off flying passengers booked through German tour operators to holiday destinations in the sun on the Mediterranean Sea.
In 1998 airberlin introduced seat-only sales and started the Mallorca Shuttle, which marked the company’s debut as a scheduled passenger airline. The “City Shuttle”, which was introduced in 2002 to fly between Europe’s major cities was a major success.
In 2004 airberlin acquired a stake of almost 25% in the Austrian airline, NIKI. Then it bought out Dba in the same year, airberlin now had an extensive domestic German route network. The takeover of Dba also meant that airberlin gained attractive slots at Berlin, Dusseldorf, Munich and Frankfurt airports. Air Berlin PLC, the legal parent company of the airberlin group, was founded in England as a public limited company in 2005. The purchase of the leisure airline LTU in 2007 was a major step in the company’s history. This enabled airberlin to extend its offer with intercontinental flights.
In December 2011 airberlin and Etihad Airways established a strategic partnership, and in the spring of 2012 airberlin became a full member of the global airline alliance oneworld. airberlin is now able to offer its passengers a global route network.