Economy

EasyJet to take over planes from bankrupt Air Berlin

EasyJet to take over planes from bankrupt Air Berlin”

Air Berlin was able to keep flying until now thanks to a 150-million-euro ($175 million) bridging loan from the German government, giving it time to negotiate the sale of its assets.

The British carrier declined to comment on the timeline.

EasyJet, which already flies to and from Tegel and Berlin Schönefeld said the acquisition will mean it operates the most short haul flights at Tegel and make it "the leading airline in Berlin".

The announcement came shortly after Air Berlin's last flight landed at Tegel. Lufthansa expects to take on up to 3,000 of them. That includes a purchase price of €210m and fleet investments of about €1bn.

With the deal complete, easyJet will now be the leading carrier in the German capital.

Air Berlin had been the main rival for routes within Germany, while others such as easyJet and Ryanair had focused on routes to and from Germany. It was beloved among Germans for its flights to holiday island Mallorca and also for the chocolate hearts it gives out after each flight, but filed for administration in August after years of losses.

The tie-up also signals that talks between Air Berlin and Condor (DE, Frankfurt Int'l) over a similar, if smaller, deal, have now ended albeit unsuccessfully.

EasyJet said it would operate a reduced timetable at Tegel during the European winter but planned to operate a full schedule from summer 2018.

There was hope in sight for Air Berlin's pilots and cabin crew too, whose jobs were endangered following the German airline's collapse into insolvency, as EasyJet said it would look to attract around 1,000 new staff from the airline.



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