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Airberlin Pilots Grounded Over “Risky” Farewell Landing Stunt

Aborted landing offered as “a dignified and emotional goodbye” to bankrupt airline.

Pilots flying for the former airberlin have entered the “danger zone,” as they face investigations into a questionable aborted landing on the final long-haul flight for the carrier. Reuters reports that the aviators, whom have not yet been identified, are suspended and will face government inquiries.

On approach to Dusseldorf Airport (DUS) on the airline’s closing service, the pilot requested permission to make a turn around the tower if they needed to aboard their landing. After permission was granted, the flyers made their move, turning the Airbus A330 left abruptly and flying around the airport one last time. Those on the ground who captured the maneuver on video feared the airframe could crash into the airport.

Speaking to German broadcaster ZDF, one of the pilots said the move was meant “…[T]o make a mark, a dignified and emotional goodbye [for Air Berlin].” However, their airline took a different stance on the move, criticizing it as unnecessary and dangerous.

“In aviation, safety always comes first,” a statement provided from airberlin to The Telegraph read. “We are taking the incident very seriously.”

Another pilot interviewed by Reuters agreed that the maneuver was reckless. “Electing to do one if it is known not to be required adds an unnecessary risk,” the unrelated aviator said. German aviation authorities will investigate the incident and the pilots involved.

Airberlin went bankrupt on August 15, 2017 under debts of $1.41 billion. Lufthansa Group agreed to purchase “key assets” of the failed airline, with the final day of Air Berlin operations taking place on October 28.

[Photo: Shutterstock]

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LukeO9 October 20, 2017

Interesting dilemma for authorities.