Air Berlin insolvent but keeps flying

Lufthansa and easyJet in talks for parts of the business
Germany’s second-largest airline has filed for bankruptcy protection after its major shareholder Etihad Airways decided to withdraw funding after years of losses.
Imminent changes at Air Berlin mean that valuable runway slots at airports like Berlin Tegel and Duesseldorf will become available for Lufthansa and its rivals.
Lufthansa in particular wants to defend its domestic position against expansion by low-cost carriers such as Ryanair and easyJet.
Both Lufthansa and easyJet are now reported to be in talks to take over parts of the business. Lufthansa has already leased Air Berlin aircraft for flights by its Eurowings budget airline.
This is likely to be a very orderly insolvency. Air Berlin will keep flying for at least the next three months, with the German government giving €150 million in loans to the loss-making airline, also to secure the jobs of its 7,200 employees in Germany. More funds may follow.
Air Berlin says that all flights booked with the company and its subsidiary Niki remain valid. Tickets can also still be bought, even to fly after the three-month period.
Ryanair is said to be furious about the insolvency, claiming it was planned to allow for a Lufthansa takeover and that this would contravene EU competition rules.
Reuters / The Local


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