Belfast Telegraph

Air Berlin says 80% of jobs could be saved by easyJet and Lufthansa bids

The airline declared bankruptcy in August after its biggest shareholder Gulf airline Etihad withdrew financial support.

EasyJet and Lufthansa have submitted offers for parts of Air Berlin in a move that could save nearly 80% of jobs at the bankrupt carrier.

Germany’s second-biggest airline said on Monday that easyJet has submitted an offer to take over some of its fleet in a move that would “create new job opportunities for airberlin employees”.

Lufthansa has made separate bids for parts of Air Berlin, its Austrian holiday airline NIKI and regional German airline Luftverkehrsgesellschaft Walter (LGW).

If successful, the offers could provide jobs for the majority of its employees.

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EasyJet plane

“We are on the way to achieving good job prospects for around 80% of our colleagues with our bidders,” Thomas Winkelmann, Air Berlin’s chief executive, said.

Air Berlin confirmed negotiations with both companies would continue until October 12, nearly a month after easyJet submitted its original proposal on September 15.

Air Berlin declared bankruptcy in August after its biggest shareholder Gulf airline Etihad withdrew financial support for the loss-making airline.

“We will not be able to breathe a sigh of relief until the EU Commission has finally authorised the transactions,” Mr Winkelmann said.

“It has only been possible to reach the current stage of negotiations due to the rapid bridging assistance provided by the federal government.

“Otherwise, we would have been forced to ground the fleet on the weekend of August 12/13 2017.

“This would have meant the immediate loss of employment for all employees”.

The company is set to phase out its long-haul flights by October 15, when aircraft leasing companies start to withdraw their Airbus A330 jets, it said.

Flights between Dusseldorf and Los Angeles stopped running on Monday and services between Hamburg, Munich and Cologne/Bonn will be halted by Friday September 29.

Air Berlin said: “Further adjustments to the flight plan will follow in the coming days.

“Stable flight operations are a prerequisite for the successful completion of the forthcoming transactions and subsequent transfer into new ownership.”

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