BERLIN – AviationSource attended the restart event at Berlin’s new Brandenburg (BER) airport today, which originally replaced the old Berlin Tegel (TXL) airport back in late-2020 where United used to previously operate to prior to the COVID-19 pandemic negatively disrupting the entire travel sector.
The New Flight
For this inauguration, United Airlines will be launching flights from their hub at Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) in New Jersey.
The flight departing Newark is UA962 which departs at 17.40 pm New York local time and arrives at Berlin Brandenburg the following day at 07.50 am Berlin local time.
The returning flight, UA963 will leave Berlin Brandenburg at 09.50 am local time after a 2-hour turnaround from the inbound flight and will arrive back in Newark at 13.05 pm local time.
Today’s inaugural flight was operated by a Boeing 767-300ER registered as N641UA which had already arrived at Berlin on the morning of Sunday, March 27, then spent 24-hours in Berlin before operating the inaugural return on March 28.
This new flight is due to be operated by United’s Boeing 767-300 aircraft, of which they currently have 38 of the type. Their Boeing 767-300’s are the Extended Range (ER) variants and have a mixture of seat configurations.
Most of their 767-300ER’s have a seating configuration of 30 Polaris Business Class seats, 46 Economy Plus seats, and 138 Economy seats.
Whilst a few of them have a seating configuration of 46 Polaris Business Class seats, 22 Premium Plus seats, 43 Economy Plus seats, and 56 Economy seats.
They also have the Boeing 767-400ER in their fleet, 16 of those to be exact, and are one of the only airlines to operate the 767-400ER.
The only other operator of the 767-400 is Delta which has the most with 21 of the type and Bahrain Royal Flight operates just one as a business jet for its Royal Family Members.
All of United’s 767-400ERs have a seating configuration of 39 Polaris Business Class seats, 70 Economy Plus seats, and 131 Economy seats.
United’s European Expansion
On top of the Newark flight to Berlin, the airline will also be re-starting their Washington Dulles to Berlin flight from May 6, again this flight will also use United’s Boeing 767 aircraft to operate.
The two new Berlin routes are just a couple of a plethora of new flights that United will be starting in Europe following passenger demand returning to more stable levels now that we are at the tail end of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Not only is Berlin returning on United’s schedule, but this year we’ll also see them return to eight other destinations, namely Dublin in Ireland, Milan and Rome in Italy, Frankfurt and Munich in Germany, Nice in France, Zurich in Switzerland, Tokyo in Japan, and Bangalore in India.
They are also due to start brand-new services to five destinations.
Those five are to Bergen in Norway from Newark starting May 20 using a Boeing 757 aircraft, Ponta Delgada in the Azores Islands in Portugal will start from May 13 to Newark using their Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft, Palma de Mallorca in Spain will start from June 2 to Newark, much like Berlin using their Boeing 767’s, Tenerife in the Canary Islands of Spain will start from June 9 to Newark using their Boeing 757, and finally, flights to Amman in Jordan will start from May 5 from Washington Dulles using their Boeing 787 Dreamliner’s.
All these five new destinations will make United the first North American carrier to serve them and show very promising signs of the Atlantic travel sector not only returning to normal demand but also back to growth too.
Commenting on the route inaugural was the Governing Mayor of Berlin, Franziska Giffey who said the following:
“Ladies and gentleman, we can say, strong economy, strong connection. That’s the motto of the day. We are very very happy that there will be a direct connection Berlin-New York starting today.”
“We are very happy that United made this decision and that they connect Berlin as a tourism, congress, exhibition, science and of course as an economic center, all that what in the end makes the capitol city to what it is, through this direct transatlantic service, Berlin connects New York.”
“This is a very big chance and a sign for the restart of the Berlin economy.”
Also commenting on this route inaugural was Thorsten Lettnin, the Director of Sales for Europe, India & West Africa at United Airlines:
“Berlin nonstop to New York. One-way? Return. People are saying what’s going on with Washington? Why exactly is this route pushed back?”
“What we do is, we constantly check our route network under consideration of the current pricing situation, passenger demand and also what are the alternatives for our passengers and then we decided that we’ll pause the Washington service for now and focus on our daily New York flights.
“The Washington service was just planned as seasonal support for the New York route and that’s why the base of our service from Berlin is this daily flight to New York.”
As mentioned by those at BER and United, this route will be the most beneficial for business-based passengers, especially with the ties to New York.
It will be interesting to see how this route performs over the coming months as well as when Washington will be coming back for the carrier out of the German airport.
But for now, it is a good start for United and for the airport, as both sides want to get things back on track.