Air Berlin to get €300 million windfall

Etihad to buy Niki stake as part of complex plan
Air Berlin will get a €300 million windfall from Etihad Airways, its main backer. The funds will be an important lifeline as the German airline restructures.
Etihad is to buy Air Berlin’s stake in Austrian leisure-flight operator Niki for more than four times Air Berlin’s market value of €68.9 million, Bloomberg writes.
The move sidesteps restrictions on foreign ownership of EU-based airlines by folding the company into an Austrian-based holding.
The payment is part of a bigger deal revealed a few weeks ago, where Abu Dhabi-based Etihad and tour operator TUI combine airline assets in a capacity-heavy leisure market.
The joint venture will operate around 60 planes with a capacity of 15 million passengers a year. Etihad will hold 25% of the venture, TUI 24.8%, and the rest will be held by private foundation Niki Privatstiftung.
As part of this deal, Air Berlin will obtain Niki’s A321 aircraft while giving its own A319s and A320s to the Austrian partner. Its restructuring involves halving its fleet. Air Berlin has already agreed to operate 40 planes on behalf of its rival Lufthansa Group.
From the summer 2017 schedules, Niki will operate most of Air Berlin’s routes to southern Europe, North Africa and Turkey.