AirBerlin USA

Originally registered as Air Berlin USA, the company was founded in 1978 as a wholly owned subsidiary of Lelco, an American agricultural enterprise headquartered in Oregon, to operate charter flights on behalf of German tour operators from Berlin Tegel Airport, mostly to Mediterranean holiday resorts.

The co-founders of Air Berlin USA were:

Kim Lundgren, a former Berlin-based flight engineer of Pan American World Airways;

John MacDonald, a former station manager of United States supplemental and charter airline Saturn Airways at Berlin Tempelhof Airport in the 1960s and subsequent general manager Europe and vice president at the Berlin Tegel Airport base of the former United States supplemental carrier and charter airline Modern Air from 1968 until 1974;

Mort Beyer, Modern Air's executive vice president from 1967 until 1971 as well as the airline's president and vice president of the National Air Carrier Association in 1971 and founder of United States aviation consultancy Avmark.

Lelco was the agriculture business of Kim Lundgren's family in the United States. As a United States airline, Air Berlin was able to access the West Berlin airline market. During the Cold War, Berlin's special political status meant that the air corridors into and out of Tegel Airport could only be used by airlines registered in France, the United Kingdom or the United States. The airline's headquarters were initially at Tegel Airport. Leonard Lundgren was the first chairman. After the company was issued an airline licence and acquired two Boeing 707 jet airliners previously owned by Trans World Airlines, Air Berlin USA commenced revenue services on 28 April 1979 with a flight from Berlin-Tegel to Palma de Mallorca. Plans were made to start long-haul flights on West Berlin-Brussels-Florida routes, in cooperation with Air Florida (an agreement to that effect had been signed in February 1979). In 1980, two Boeing 737-200s were leased from Air Florida. In 1981, Air Berlin USA continued its weekly scheduled Boeing 707 service on the Berlin Tegel Airport - Brussels - Orlando route; however, by 1982, the 707s had been phased out, and during most of the 1980s, Air Berlin USA operated only a single 737-200 or (from 1986) a 737-300. In 1990 and 1991, two Boeing 737-400s were also placed into service.

Total flights


3 flights this month

Total distance


505 miles this month

Total hours


3 hours this month

Total pilots


2 active this month