Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg (FBB), the operator of Berlin’s three airports—Schönefeld, Tegel and the new Brandenburg airport—is in Cebu, Philippines for Routes Asia 2019 for the first time in a bid to attract potential long-haul flights from Asia.

The company launched a long-haul initiative in 2018 and is the only European airport at the event this year.

“We want more air service agreements (ASAs) with Asian countries and more direct connection with them,” FBB senior manager aviation marketing Simon Miller said.

He specifically pointed out Thailand as potentials, as 60,000 Thais visit Berlin annually, even without direct service. FBB is in talks with Thai AirAsia X and Thai Airways, and is confident the flights would be filled.

Miller also cited Japan, China and Vietnam, with the latter having a big ethnic presence in the German capital.

Miller hopes to see more ASAs established and issued to Chinese carriers, many of which have expressed wishes to operate to Berlin. Currently, the China route is serviced by Hainan Airlines to Beijing.

He added that he is seeing a future for Berlin to become a hub for self-connect passengers, with UK LCC easyJet becoming the biggest airline in Tegel after airberlin ceased operations. Singapore’s LCC Scoot signed joined the Worldwide by easyJet global connections service, enabling Scoot passengers to be connected to other European network. 

After series of delays, the new Berlin Brandenburg International Airport is set to open in October 2020, and regulators are going through the infrastructure for vetting prior to transferring the project to the airport operator for equipment installation.

“Berlin is not getting the full potential of long-haul direct flights from Asia,” Miller added. “I believe most airlines would wait for the completion of Brandenburg airport before committing to flying here, to prevent logistical issues of moving from Tegel.”

Chen Chuanren, chuanren@purplelightvisuals.com