A large wave of aviation news and activity took place this past weekend, some nostalgic, some for the better, but mostly quite sad. Consider this a spoiler alert as I may pull on some heart strings in this post.
United Airlines Last 747 Flight
Close to home and very near to me was the operation of United Airlines last scheduled Boeing 747 flight from Korea to San Francisco on October 28. United helped launch the Boeing 747 series almost 40 years ago, however, due to rising fuel costs and aging technology, the airline has decided to part ways with the 'Queen of the skies' in favor of more fuel efficient widebody aircraft, like the Boeing 777 and Boeing 787 Dreamliner. United will operate one final commemorative flight on November 7 from San Francisco to Hawaii, paying homage to the airlines first route with the mega jetliner.
Brussels Airlines Last Avro RJ100 Flight
Brussels Airlines retires the Avro RJ100, a unique regional aircraft with four jet engines. It was an Avro that performed Brussels Airlines first flight 15 years ago. Nicknamed the Jumbolino, this aircraft certainly was considered the Intra-Europe backbone for the airlines up until a few years ago. The airline has opted to phase out the Avro in favor of the Airbus A320 family and Bombardier CS Series.
Air Berlin Ends Operations
The most note-able news coming out of this past weekend was the operation of Air Berlin's last flight from Munich to Berlin, flight AB6210, on October 27. It was certainly a sad day for all #AvGeeks to see an airline of this sheer size collapse after nearly 40 years of operations. At its prime, the airline flew to 140 destinations with 111 aircraft. Arguably, this may be the largest airline closure in a decade. This is the second airline to close its doors in October 2017, following the end of UK-based Monarch Airlines on October 2.
Air Berlin, and frankly, many European airlines, have been plagued by increased competition, rising operating costs, and dwindling demand into parts of Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Radical behavior has certainly played a big role, scaring off many tourists from visiting these once popular destinations including Egypt, Turkey, and more.
To celebrate the airlines last flight, the company posted a series of Twitter posts on October 27 under the hashtag #HistoryofAirBerlin and #Forever39, signifying the airlines 39 years of operations. Below is a snippet of the posts, which are now archived under their Twitter handle @airberlin, which you visit for a photo journey of the airlines history back when it was conceived on April 23, 1979.