If reports in the German media today are to be believed then assets belonging to the insolvent low-cost airline, airberlin could be sold and split between two or more bidders with the whole process complete by the end of September.
Thomas Winkelmann, the carrier’s chief executive has reportedly told German newspaper, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that his airline is in talks with three aviation firms – one of which is confirmed to be Lufthansa.
The speed of the deal is in complete contrast to proceedings at fellow bankrupt airline, Alitalia but is necessary to keep its aircraft flying before a government bridging loan of €150 million runs out. airberlin applied for insolvency in a German court on Monday when Abu Dhabi-based, Etihad Airways who own a 29% stake in airberlin withdrew financial support.
Winkleman said the firms involved in talks with airberlin were “reputable in terms of their finances, sufficiently large to offer Air Berlin a secure future and are interested in keeping Germany as a base of operations.”
Germany’s flag carrier, Lufthansa announced on Monday that it is jointly supporting airberlin during the bankruptcy proceedings with the German government. Lufthansa already has a deal with airberlin to wet lease 38 of its aircraft. It’s likely to want to acquire the majority of the carrier’s slots at Berlin Tegel and Dusseldorf airport where Lufthansa is currently underrepresented.
However, with Ryanair already accusing Lufthansa and airberlin of a “conspiracy” and a “manufactured” bankruptcy, it’s believed that competition authorities will award Ryanair a portion of slots as well. A second low-cost competitor is also eyeing up airberlin’s business with sources at easyJet claiming the UK-based airline is involved in negotiations.
“The opportunity should be seized to strategically position the 140 aircraft, the capacities and the employees of Air Berlin and strengthen the position of Germany’s aviation sector in the international market,” commented Alexander Dobrindt, Germany’s Transport Minister.
airberlin has 7,200 workers in Germany whose future is now uncertain. However, Lufthansa has moved to assure workers it would be able to hire staff should it get access to airberlin’s assets.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.