The anniversary flight with 250 guests on board left the city on the Rhine at 9:15 and will be greeted with a ceremonial water cannon salute in Fort Myers at 13:35 local time.
"We are the only European airline to fly non-stop to Fort Myers and have been providing this connection for 20 years. Dusseldorf Airport and Southwest Florida International Airport are hereby important partners for us. As one of airberlin’s hubs, Dusseldorf is perfectly integrated in our broad route network. We are able to offer our flight guests from all over Germany, Austria and Switzerland seamless and convenient connections to Fort Myers and to many other destinations in the USA, Europe and around the world. Furthermore, due to its proximity to the border, the airport is ideal for travellers from Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg," said Wolfgang Prock-Schauer, CEO airberlin.
"These days, it is not easy to successfully operate a long-haul connection over so many years. However, the non-stop flight between Dusseldorf and Fort Myers is a connection that works. It has been successful for 20 years now and is proof of the good quality of the route in addition to the excellent cooperation between all people involved at the airline and at both airports," said Thomas Schnalke, Managing Director of Dusseldorf Airport.
airberlin was also pleased to welcome Robert M. Ball, Executive Director of Southwest Florida International Airport, on board the anniversary flight to Fort Myers. He said: "The first flight from Dusseldorf in April 1994 was the result of many years of work to promote Southwest Florida in the international marketplace and it brings us great pride to commemorate two decades of nonstop service with our long-time partner, airberlin. The flights to Germany have truly changed the landscape of our airport and we look forward to many more years of welcoming international visitors to our region, as well offering the residents of Southwest Florida travel opportunities to Dusseldorf and beyond."
In April 1994, the airline LTU launched its connection from Dusseldorf to Fort Myers. airberlin took over the operation of the flights after it acquired LTU in 2007 and this summer will be flying to Southwest Florida every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.