Article published on Thursday, August 16, 2017 at 11: 05, updated at 14h
This is Thomas Winkelmann himself, the president of the management board of Air Berlin in filing for bankruptcy since Tuesday, which reveals : for the recovery of its assets, the company discusses not only with the first German company, Lufthansa, but also with two other companies in the aviation sector.
In an interview published Thursday, August 17, by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (“FAZ” is the German newspaper with the largest circulation in the world), the boss of Air Berlin ensures that the three airlines involved in the negotiation “have nothing to demonstrate with regard to their financial situation and are of a sufficient size to ensure that Air Berlin, a secure future and further wished to retain Germany as a base of operations”.
The opportunity for Lufthansa to counter Ryanair and Easyjet
The airline deficit, filed for bankruptcy Tuesday and Lufthansa is trying to take advantage of this to consolidate its positions in the face of companies such as Ryanair and Easyjet .
According to Winkelmann, the discussion focuses on the assets of its subsidiary Niki. Etihad, the main shareholder of Air Berlin had acquired in December 2016, Air Berlin, with 49.8% of the share capital of the company founded by the former triple F1 world champion Niki Lauda in 2003 at a price of 300 million euros. For memory, by injecting these 300 million euros, Etihad had planned to use Niki to create the low-cost airline joint to the TUI group (the number one european tourism), a project which was finally aborted in June of last year.
| Read : Etihad will be there with Lufthansa to the covenant which he dreamed with the Air France-KLM ?
Harvest of slots for Eurowings and Condor
The FAZ states that Winkelmann wants to enter into an agreement with two buyers or more by the end of September, reports Reuters. RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland (RND), a representative body of the German press, which cites government sources according to which Lufthansa, its subsidiary low-cost Eurowings and Condor, the airline’s tour operator Thomas Cook, récupéreraient slots in the most interesting Air Berlin.
According to the AFP, the british Easyjet and Condor, a German company belonging to the group of british tourism, Thomas Cook, are cited by several media outlets.
Complaint from Ryanair, but approval of the minister of Transport
For the minister of Transport Alexander Dobrindt, the operation is a good opportunity for the aviation sector German.
“The opportunity should be taken to strategically place the 140 aircraft, the capabilities and the staff to Air Berlin and to strengthen the position of the aviation sector of Germany in the international market”, he told the daily Bild.
Some slots may come back to Ryanair. Crumbs, which, it seems, have failed to calm the grievances of the low-cost airline since it filed two complaints against the procedure of filing for bankruptcy of Air Berlin, .
Berlin has granted Air Berlin a bridge loan of 150 million euros to enable him to perform the flights of Air Berlin (and its subsidiary austrian Niki) for three months and preserve 7.200 jobs during the course of negotiations.
“This is clearly a game of dupes” (Michael O’leary)
This intervention of the federal government, a few weeks before the general election the German on 24 September, has led Ryanair to file two complaints : one before the european Commission and another before the German cartel office, this is to block the return Air Berlin, Lufthansa.
Michael O’leary, the boss of the irish company at low costs, which had denounced a “conspiracy” between Berlin, Lufthansa, and the company is in crisis, says it is interested in the resumption of the operations of Air Berlin in the event of a “liquidation process, normal and fair”, in an interview with the newspaper Handelsblatt, published yesterday afternoon, and titled : “This is clearly a fool’s game”.
In another article published in the evening in the same newspaper, Matthias Machnig, State secretary at the federal ministry of Economics and Energy, was obliged to justify himself to refute the accusations of Michael O’leary which sees the bankruptcy filing as “a mise en scene for the benefit of Lufthansa”.
(with Reuters and AFP)