Showing posts with label Air Berlin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Air Berlin. Show all posts

15 December, 2018

Etihad sued for €2 billion over Air Berlin

The German insolvency administrators dealing with the collapsed airline Air Berlin are taking one of its major backers to court.

It has been revealed that German officials are suing the Abu Dhabi based Etihad Airways, which owned nearly 30% of Air Berlin, for damages of up €2 billion euros around $2.26 billion. It was the decision Etihad Airways took to withdraw funding for Air Berlin that sent the second biggest airline in Germany crashing into insolvency. According to the administrator, Etihad did not meet its financial obligations towards Air Berlin.

“The claims are for payment of 500 million and the establishment that the defendant is obliged to pay further damages. The Chamber has provisionally set the amount in dispute at up to 2 billion euros,” stated in a statement issued by the court on Friday.

Etihad will need to respond to the court action before the end of January, however, a spokesperson for the airline said  “We believe that the claim is without merit and will defend ourselves vigorously against it,” stressing no further public comment on the subject would be made.


14 December, 2017

The uncertain future of Niki

The fate of the Austrian subsidiary of Air Berlin, Niki seemed relatively certain a few days ago after Lufthansa had agreed to buy it as part of its rescue deal for Air Berlin. However European regulators expressed concern over competition in the region and so the German flag carrier Lufthansa has been forced to scrap its plans to buy Niki on Wednesday.  The surprise move has grounded the airlines fleet of aircraft and stranded thousands of passengers. The airlines managing director said was a “national disaster for Austria”.

The email message advising the end of Niki

Austria’s Transport Ministry indicated that there were approximately 5,000 Niki passengers stranded overseas over the next few weeks. Some would be able to get special 'rescue' fares with other airlines, including Eurowings and Tui.   

The airlines' administrator started urgent talks today in an effort to secure a purchaser for the beleaguered airline founded by former racing driver Niki Lauda. The administrators believe they must act with extreme urgency or else the airline may lose one of its most valuable assets, its runway slots!

Generally speaking in Europe, after the bankruptcy of an airline, the expensive runway slots are returned to a central pool from which they are redistributed to other airlines. Unless of course a buy has been found for the bankrupt airline. 

One of the administrators, Frank Kebekus hoped a deal for Niki could be agreed before the end of the year. “If we had that, then we can certainly take another week or two in January to finalize it,” he told local media. 

Local media is also reporting that there are five companies that have expressed an interest in buying the airline business. Although according to Wolfgang Katzian of Austrian union GPA said there were four interested parties, but refused to name them.

Earlier in the year, before the Lufthansa deal was in place, Niki Lauda offered around €100 million in partnership with Condor - part of Thomas Cook for Niki and 17 aircraft.  Yesterday he expressed to local radio that he was still interested in taking over the company - this time without a business partner.

The future is looking incredibly uncertain, for both passengers and staff - who still don't know for sure if they are going to get their wages for November. 

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13 December, 2017

Lufthansa makes further concessions to EU Commission

Lufthansa has made further concessions today in the course of the intended acquisition of parts of the Air Berlin Group. The transaction is currently being examined by the EU Commission as the responsible merger control authority. In the so-called Phase One assessment, Lufthansa had already offered extensive commitments in particular by giving up slots. However, the Commission considers this to be insufficient and has clearly indicated that an acquisition of Niki and its integration into the Eurowings Group would currently not be approved. Based on this assessment, a takeover of Niki by Eurowings is no longer being pursued. 

Takeover of Niki no longer pursued
Offer to give up further slots for still intended takeover of  Luftfahrtgesellschaft Walter (LGW) 

Lufthansa has today informed both Air Berlin and its administrator that it intends to close the transaction excluding the acquisition of Niki. 

With regard to the still intended takeover of Luftfahrtgesellschaft Walter (LGW), Lufthansa would give up numerous slots in order to obtain merger clearance in Phase One. The revised commitments will be submitted to the EU Commission today.  

The Lufthansa Group maintains its plan of expanding its point-to-point business increasingly through organic growth of the Eurowings Group.

A share of the agreed purchase price for Niki has already been transferred to the company as bridge financing. The unpaid purchase price components will now be used for the organic capacity expansion in Niki's markets. Economically, this leads to a comparable result for the Lufthansa Group.

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01 December, 2017

Lufthansa makes concessions in its Air Berlin bid

The German airline Lufthansa has offered a number of concessions in an attempt to allay competition concerns over its plans to buy Air Berlin assets, according to EU antitrust regulators.

The European Commission expressed concern regarding Lufthansa’s potential dominance in Germany as a result of the takeover plans and extended its deadline for a decision on the deal to 21st December. The previous deadline was 7th December. The regulators would not elaborate on what or how many concessions Lufthansa had . 21 from Dec. 7. It did not provide details of Lufthansa’s concessions.

Some industry insiders believe the German mega carrier will offer up some of the slots owned by Air Berlin along with its subsidiary Niki. 

It was back in August that Air Berlin filed for insolvency in August and was subsequently carved up, with Lufthansa buying Niki and LGW, plus some short-haul planes, for 210 million euros ($249 million) to expand its Eurowings budget brand.  However, many fear the deal gives Lufthansa too much dominance in the domestic market as well as in Austria.

The Commission determined Lufthansa, Niki and LGW’s activities overlapped on more than 100 routes. On around half of those routes, the combined market share would be above 60 percent, while on some routes Lufthansa would also have a monopoly.

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13 October, 2017

Contract for the purchase of parts of Air Berlin Group signed

After intense negotiations over the past few weeks, Deutsche Lufthansa AG and the Air Berlin Group have signed a contract today regarding the purchase of NIKI Luftfahrt GmbH (NIKI) and Luftfahrtgesellschaft Walter mbH (LGW).

These two carriers are projected to increase the capacity of the operational fleet at Eurowings as follows:

LGW with 870 employees, as well as 17 Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 and 13 Airbus A320 aircraft
NIKI with 830 employees, as well as 20 Airbus A320 type aircraft

This means that the wet-lease operation that is currently still provided for Eurowings by Air Berlin Group will be taken over by Eurowings’ own operational fleet. Eurowings also plans to acquire additional aircraft on the market and hire 1,300 more employees.

Eurowings remains the fastest-growing airline in Europe,  “Our strategic modernization initiatives have paid off. We have regained the capacity to invest and grow, in order to play an active role in the consolidation of the European airline market with Eurowings. As the fastest-growing airline in Europe, Eurowings can now expand the range of services it offers customers,” says Carsten Spohr, Chairman of the Board of Directors at Deutsche Lufthansa AG.

Lufthansa buys the bulk of Air Berlin

The German airline group, Lufthansa has purchased the bulk of the bankrupted Air Berlin after a marathon signing session today the airline confirmed. The extra aircraft and routes it will be taking on will mainly be used to further expand its budget carrier Eurowings. 

The mega deal is valued at €210 million that's approximately $249 million and would cement the German travel giant as one of the largest airline group in Europe.  In addition to its purchase of part of Air Berlin, Lufthansa has agreed to acquire Air Berlin’s Austrian leisure travel airline Niki, its LG Walter regional airline and 20 additional aircraft.

“This contract provides new opportunities for jobs for a large part of our workforce. But we can only really breathe again when the EU Commission approves the deal,” Air Berlin chief executive Thomas Winkelmann said. 

26 September, 2017

Easyjet & Lufthansa are preferred rescuers of Air Berlin

The bankrupt German carrier Air Berlin is going to the next stage in its talks with potential rescuers - the two front-runners are EasyJet and unsurprisingly, Lufthansa.

Air Berlin is fast running out of the €150m euro that's around £130m bailout loan from the government as say a deal with one of these two preferential bidders could help save the jobs of over 80% of its staff.

The negotiations with the two suiters will continue until 12th October, with any final deal needing to be approved by both German and European Union regulators and officials.

Earlier, British Airways' parent company IAG confirmed it was putting in a bid for part of Air Berlin, but said it expected the airline would go mainly to the German airline Lufthansa.  IAG boss Willie Walsh told anyone who would listen at the routes conference that it would not "come as any surprise" if Lufthansa was the main winner.

Thomas Winkelmann, chief executive of Air Berlin, said: "We are on the way to achieving good job prospects for around 80% of our colleagues with our bidders. However, we will not be able to breathe a sigh of relief until the EU Commission has finally authorised the transactions."

12 September, 2017

Airberlin Ends Caribbean Flights

The troubled insolvent airline airberlin will end its Caribbean long -haul flight schedule from Dusseldorf from 25th September 2017.  

This drastic action is a direct result of the airlines' reduction of its long-haul fleet which became necessary due to the current preliminary insolvency proceedings.   The routes affected are Curacao (Netherlands Antilles), Cancun (Mexico), Havana and Varadero (Cuba) as well as Punta Cana and Puerto Plata (Dominican Republic).

The airline asks that passengers booked as part of package deals to contact their tour operator or travel agent and those that booked directly with the airline after the filing for insolvency proceedings on 15th August 2017, will be reimbursed without charge.  However, those that have tickets issued before the filing for insolvency proceedings will not be reimbursed due to insolvency law regulations.

Pilot Action Forces More Air Berlin Cancellations

Unofficial action by pilots of troubled airline Air Berlin to cancel numerous flights today, including those it operates on behalf of Eurowings.

Hundreds of pilots called in sick to airberlin over the last 24 hours, such was the unprecedented and seemingly coordinated sickness reporting that the airline was unable to operate a normal schedule.

Passengers affected will be offered other travel plans and were asked to contact airberlin and not go to the airport.  Passengers whose flights are part of a package deal should contact their travel provider or tour operator.

Over 100 flights have had to be canceled and local media report 250 pilots called in sick, although this figure has not been verified or confirmed. Many see this self-defeating action by the pilots as further damaging to the possibility of the airberlin being rescued as a whole and detrimental to their own future re-employment.  One pilot who is working today told us, "It is a pointless action, it only disrupts passengers, it could make it more difficult for the potential buyers to continue with [their] plans"

"It's appalling, its like they - the pilots don't want anyone to buy the airline, or give them new jobs. They should be ashamed of themselves" Said E Bansol an airberlin passenger whose flight had been cancelled due to the pilot's action.

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03 September, 2017

Air Berlin Cancels Flights & Lauda Still Interested In Buying Niki

Air Berlin has cancelled a number of flights today due to 'operational' reasons and looks set to make some more late notice alterations to its timetable next week.

These fresh cancellations come on the back of the recent announcement that the airline was ending its services between Berlin and Abu Dhabi from mid-September. In a statement from Etihad said: “We have been advised that airberlin is cancelling its operations between Berlin and Abu Dhabi starting on September 15 to October 31, 2017. We are now re-booking our customers onto alternative Etihad flights from that date."

“In addition, due to market uncertainty, we have taken the decision to re-book our customers due to fly with airberlin, from November 1 onwards, onto alternative flights.”

There has been much speculation in the media that Air Berlin may be about to confirm further cancellations to its long-haul routes including those to the USA. 

Read more to find out what Niki Lauda thinks and whom the likely bidders are.

29 August, 2017

Niki Lauda May Buy Back Niki From Air Berlin

Former F1 driver Niki Lauda is interested in buying back insolvent Air Berlin’s Niki, the Austrian airline he once owned, joining a slew of companies and investors vying to grab parts of the German carrier.

Lauda expressed his interest in Niki in a letter to Air Berlin’s insolvency administrator but he has yet to look into Niki’s books, he told Austrian newspaper Kronen-Zeitung.

“Now let’s see what happens, whether I’ll be invited to the negotiations at all,” he was quoted as saying.

17 August, 2017

Will Lufthansa Buy 100 Air Berlin Aircraft? Ryanair's Not Happy. Could IAG be Interested? The Air Berlin Gossip Bubble

Lufthansa is in negotiations to buy a majority of Air Berlin's aircraft, with the backing of the German Government, which is, according to local media, looking for an aviation 'champion' to come to the rescue.   The German flag carrier may take upto 100 of the 140 Air Berlin fleet some analysts are predicting.  No comment on that theory yet from the German airline, although it is a possibility - with nothing being ruled out at this stage.   

Air Berlin's collapse may be a god send for Lufthansa and the other airlines in its group, if they takes up the chance to acquire slots at busy airports such as Berlin Tegel and Duesseldorf. The German national carrier is keen to defend its domestic position against the expansion of the low-cost carriers like Ryanair.  

15 August, 2017

Air Berlin Files For Bankruptcy

Air Berlin, the second largest airline in German has filed for bankruptcy protection after its main shareholder investor Etihad, confirmed it would no longer prop up the troubled carrier after trying unsuccessfully for years to turnaround the loss-making enterprise.

Air Berlin transports roughly 80,000 people every day on it's mainly short-haul routes around Europe and employs over 7000 staff.  

Etihad Airways who own just over 29% of  Air Berlin, stated the bankruptcy filing was "extremely disappointing for all parties," especially Abu Dhabi based company had supported Air Berlin for over six years, but revealed it could no longer continue subsidising the German carrier.  "As a minority shareholder, Etihad cannot offer funding that would further increase our financial exposure. We remain open to helping find a commercially viable solution for all parties," Etihad said in a statement released on Tuesday.

25 July, 2014

No Return to Tel Aviv for German Carriers

Germany's two largest airlines say they are not yet resuming flights to Israel even though the European Aviation Safety Agency has lifted a recommendation that airlines refrain from flying to Tel Aviv airport, according to reports from AP news agency. 
Air Berlin says flights to Tel Aviv remain suspended at least through midday Friday, while Lufthansa says all Friday flights to the airport have been canceled because of ongoing security concerns after a Hamas missile landed near it this week.
Lufthansa says it "acknowledges the considerable efforts made by Israel to provide the best possible protection for Ben Gurion Airport" with its missile defense system. It says flights will resume "as soon as this protection can be verifiably guaranteed."

21 September, 2011

Air Berlin fleet cuts

An Air-Berlin aircraft passes along the air traffic control tower and terminal building at Berlin's Tegel airport, August 3, 2011. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch
Germany's two largest airlines said on Wednesday they were cutting capacity and fleets to salvage profits, as economic turbulence hits bookings numbers and prompts customers to put off booking flights until the last minute.
Air Berlin (AB1.DE) said it hoped to pass on planes it no longer needed to Asian rivals, while German flagship airline Lufthansa (LHAG.DE), which on Tuesday shocked investors with a profit warning, said it would now only increase capacity over the winter by 4 percent.
Lufthansa had in July already reduced the planned growth in capacity to 6 percent, down from an original 12 percent and indicated on Wednesday it could cut more seats.