Witnesses at Düsseldorf Airport on Monday saw something rarely seen before. An Air Berlin pilot on landing approach suddenly turned the plane left and throttled back up into the sky. The flyby is being seen as a final salute to the airline, which filed for bankruptcy back in August. This was the last Air Berlin international flight out of the United States.
The German media is saying that it was the pilot’s unique way of saying goodbye to his passengers and to the airline as it heads for its last rites, as it were. German peer carrier Lufthansa is currently in the process of buying up large parts of the bankrupt airline, and signed a deal last week for 210 million euros, or about $248 million.
While an Air Berlin spokesman has said that this was a standard go-around maneuver for an aborted landing, the Federal Aviation Office has requested details of Monday’s incident, stating that it differed from typical go-around moves. The flight, an A330 Airbus jet, was given a water salute by the airport fire brigade, which sprayed the craft with jet plumes of water.
The pilots of the aircraft (Flight AB7001) remain anonymous, as their identities are yet to be revealed. According to Air Berlin, the pilots have been suspended, presumably pending the outcome of the investigation.