Airline hits the big 3-0

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It started out with just one plane ... now a major airline at Stansted airport is celebrating its 30th anniversary.

Air Berlin, the Essex airport's third largest carrier, began running from Berlin Tegel airport in 1979 and is now Germany's second largest airline.

It carries nearly 30 million passengers a year and runs direct flights from Stansted to Germany, where it has connections to 10 other European countries, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Russia, Thailand and the US.

Nick Barton, the airport's commercial and development director, said: "Air Berlin prides itself on offering low fares with allocated seating, complimentary refreshments, child discounts and a 20kg luggage allowance.

"These offerings have always been extremely popular with business and leisure passengers."

Titus Johnson, the airline's UK and Ireland manager, added: "Air Berlin started with just one aircraft and the boundless optimism of founder Kim Lundgren.

"Since then the airline has gone from strength to strength, but has remained true to its pioneering spirit."

The picture shows staff from Air Berlin and BAA Stansted celebrating the airline's birthday. Pictured are Mr Johnson; Jon Kettle, Air Berlin's ramp manager for the UK and France; ticket sales agent Helga Sime; station manager Lee Lewis; ticket sales agent Raffi Kelinen; UK and Ireland traffic manager Maria Ewering-Norris; and Mark Souter, BAA Stansted's head of airline relations.

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