Air Berlin files for insolvency

AirBerlin B737-800 By Felix Gottwald

Hogan has since left the Gulf company, which last month also announced that it was exiting another so-called Equity Alliance partner with the sale of a stake in Swiss regional carrier Darwin to Slovenia's Adria Airways.

The carrier says it has been notified by shareholder Etihad Airways "that it no longer intends to provide Air Berlin with financial support". Etihad's then-chief James Hogan said at the time that his company wasn't prepared to carry on in investing without the support of all stakeholders.

Travelers holding onto airberlin tickets should not worry though, as the German government is providing the airline with a 150 million euro ($177 million) loan to keep the airline afloat while it heads into the bankruptcy process.

"Negotiations between Air Berlin and Lufthansa and another airline about the acquisition of business units are far advanced so that over the next weeks a decision can be finalised by Lufthansa and a further airline", the ministry says.

The company's operating loss had more than doubled previous year to 667 million euros ($787 million) due to various write-offs and restructuring charges as it belatedly tried to save itself. Etihad had bought into a number of European airlines in recent years, not least because it hoped they would drive long-haul traffic to its hub in Abu Dhabi and also support its efforts to break into the US market.

Air Berlin, Germany's second-largest airline, filed for insolvency proceedings after it ran into operational and financial difficulties following years of losses.

Air Berlin is the second largest airline in Germany, but has struggled financially for years.

Following the bankruptcy announcement, Lufthansa said it was "supporting the restructuring efforts of the airline jointly with the German government" and that its leased aircraft would continue operating as before.

The German government, like Italy's before it with Alitalia, is now helping to find a solution to protect jobs.

German carrier Air Berlin's aircrafts at Tegel airport in Berlin, Germany, September 29, 2016.

Ryanair airline recently complained to the Bundeskartellampt about a deal under which Lufthansa subsidiaries Eurowings and Austrian airlines hired Air Berlin craft and crew to fly routes for them.



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