First daily direct flights to US leave Berlin BER Airport
After a chaotic start, it seems that Berlin’s Brandenburg (Willy Brandt) airport is finally getting to grips with its new role, following the start of direct flights between Berlin and the US on March 28. The new flights should hopefully set Berlin’s new airport up to be reconnected to the world after its opening during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Berlin has not been well-connected since before the pandemic
The news about the new routes, which will be operated by US carrier United Airlines, is a welcome addition to BER airport, which has seen a lack of major traffic since its opening. The route is only the third of seven long-haul routes that used to head to Berlin before the pandemic, showing just how slowly travellers are returning to the skies.
Unfortunately, the positive announcement came at the same time as a negative one - the planned summer route to Washington DC is to be scrapped this year, while further intercontinental flights are yet to be added to the schedule.
Businesspeople and businesses have been eager to get long-haul flights going from the airport, so that business travellers can return to attending meetings, conferences and company events overseas. Governing Mayor Franziska Giffey (SPD) has reassured those keen to get travel back underway, stating that she hopes the opening of this route is "just the beginning" of a return to international travel.
BER has had a tough start
After 15 years in planning and a further 14 in construction, the new airport finally opened in 2020. Unfortunately, the opening was hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has wiped much international travel out of existence for the past two years and therefore meant that very few flights and routes have actually operated from the airport since its opening.
The new links to the US are especially important as the European Union (EU) slowly begins to reopen its borders to non-EU travellers. Many of the flights that have been able to begin serving BER since its opening have been regional intra-European flights, so the restart of direct flights to the US are an optimistic symbol of a waning epidemic, too.