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On the trail of the comet: the first ever comet observation flight with airberlin

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On the trail of the comet: the first ever comet observation flight with airberlin airberlin

The 16th March is National Astronomy Day in Germany and airberlin flight AB1000 will be setting off on a very special mission: on this day the two-hour observation flight will offer a particularly good view of the Panstarrs comet.


This special flight organised by the Bonn-based travel agency “Eclipse Reisen” (Eclipse Travel) will take off at 19:25 from Cologne/Bonn Airport and will fly at a maximum altitude of 11,000 metres to give guests on board an optimal view of the comet in the night sky. “Panstarrs” gives us the first opportunity in Central Europe since 1997 of observing a bright comet at the optimum stage of its development. There will also be a well-known expert in astronomy on board the flight to answer questions about the comet and other aspects of astronomy.

Angela Weidenbach from “Eclipse Reisen” explains: “At an altitude of 11,000 metres you’ve not only risen above the clouds but you’ve also passed through two thirds of the earth’s atmosphere. This means that the air has a transparent quality which you don’t experience on earth. Even if the comet turns out to be less bright than expected, you will still have a spectacular view of it from aboard our special flight.” The windows of the Boeing 737-700 will be thoroughly cleaned just before take-off to guarantee the best possible view.

Karsten von dem Hagen, Teamleader Sales Ad Hoc Flights at airberlin, has organised numerous special flights for partner companies. “Among our clientele, alongside charter agencies we also have orchestras, football clubs, and cruise companies, for example. This is the first time we are offering a flight to view a comet, however. It is a premiere for me too,” said von dem Hagen. He is working on the project in collaboration with the company Air Partner, which is an international charter agency based near Cologne. “We are delighted to be able to offer this flight with airberlin on behalf of Eclipse Reisen; it will be an extraordinary experience in flying even for us, said Sergej Drobjasko, Charter Sales Manager at Air Partner International.

Before take-off there will be a Rhineland-style buffet at the departure gate for the astronomy-loving flight guests. On board during the flight sweet and savoury snacks, soft drinks and tea and coffee will be served.

Tickets for the special flight are available from €359 online at Eclipse-Reisen.de. Prices are inclusive of all taxes and charges and include topbonus miles.


Eclipse-Reisen.de is a project that was started in May 2000 by employees working at the travel agency Reisebüro in der Südstadt GmbH in Bonn to create a central point of contact providing all the information needed on any upcoming solar eclipses and also as a platform for the numerous travel opportunities available. Many trips to view solar eclipses are based solely on land or sea; from the start an important aspect of this project was to offer customers suitable flights at as low a cost as possible.

Air Partner plc, which is listed on the London Stock Exchange, is one of the world’s largest suppliers of high quality private and business jets and aircraft of all sizes for commercial passenger and freight transport. The company has 20 branches in 16 countries in Europe, North America and the Middle East. Its team of aviation professionals organises flights 24/7 for touristic ad-hoc and charter groups, incentive trips, and travel to events and congresses; it provides transport for sports teams, freight and rescue transport services and also private jets for private and business travel. Since 2004 Air Partner has been the only aviation company to hold the royal seal of approval “By appointment to Her Majesty The Queen”. www.airpartner.com In the financial year 2011/12 the company had an annual turnover of 272 million euros and made a profit of 4.9 million euros. The workforce of around 230 employees handles approximately 15,000 flights per year. 

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