Over the weekend, easyJet has given the honor of being the first airline to use Berlin Brandenburg Airport’s newly opened Terminal 1. While most low-cost carriers are avoiding the airport like the plague, this is not the case for the orange A320 family operator.
Airport openings are relatively few and far between. However, when a new airport opens in a city with existing capacity, it typically means that it will take some if not all of the city’s other airports’ load. In the case of Berlin, over the next week, all services still operating to Tegel will move across to Brandenburg Airport.
Berlin’s home carrier?
easyJet has maintained a base in Berlin since 2004, and over the past 16 years, the base has always been an important one. When it first opened, the base at Brandenburg, then called Shönefeld, was easyJet’s first outside the UK. Since then, according to CEO Johan Lundgren, it has gone on to become the airline’s only maintenance base outside of the UK. Next year easyJet plans to offer up to 70 routes from Berlin Brandenburg Airport.
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Of course, BER was initially envisioned to be a hub for the now-defunct Air Berlin. However, easyJet will now be the city’s largest single carrier with a market share of 35% of passengers. As such, Lundgren told a press conference on Saturday,
“We feel like ourselves as the home base carrier of Berlin.”
According to Lundgren, easyJet employs over 1,000 workers at its Berlin base. 50 of these are dedicated to maintaining aircraft to the south of the new airport. Operating a huge base at BER means that the airline can consolidate its operations in the city. Previously it was flying from both Schönefeld and Tegel.
Having a broad base outside of the UK could also potentially be a boon for the British carrier as Brexit’s effects go live in January. Multiple airlines have been attempting to counter the possible impact. For example, easyJet now has two European subsidiaries, while Ryanair has created a UK subsidiary.
A greener future
Of course, while flying from Berlin, Lundgren wants to ensure that his airline is doing as much as possible to make its operations sustainable moving forward. The airline is already the only major airline that is offsetting all its carbon emissions from flying.
Lundgren said that the future “is not about that people should be flying and traveling less. On the contrary, people should live life and travel more. But what we need to do as an industry is to make sure that we reduce the impact on the environment.”
On the topic of hydrogen aircraft, Lundgren said that it was not a case of if, but rather when such technology would happen. Perhaps we could one day see such aircraft gracing the skies above Berlin in easyJet’s livery.
Will you fly with easyJet from its Berlin hub? Let us know what you think and why in the comments.