Air Berlin, the second largest German airline after Lufthansa filed for insolvency on Tuesday, August 15. It’s main shareholder Etihad declared, that they would not provide any financial support. In a mandatory press announcement for the stock market the company explained, that there is no positive forecast for the airline’s existence. To prevent all flights from being cancelled immediately, the ministry of economy provides a loan in the meantime worth of 150 million Euro. With this credit, the air traffic can continue until November this year.
A silver lining for Air Berlin, but also for its more than 8000 employees is Lufthansa, that is working on taking over parts of their old competitor. A speaker of Ryanair criticized Air Berlin, Lufthansa, as well as the government, that this issue was just a maneuver to allow Lufthansa to get more shares of Air Berlin. According to the Minister of Transport Alexander Dobrindt (CSU), there are no antitrust concerns in this case, since it is not a complete take over.
Meanwhile, Thomas Winkelmann, CEO of Air Berlin, announced on Wednesday, that one of the reasons for insolvency is the ongoing delay in the construction of Berlin’s new airport “BER”. The airport should have been opened 2011, but due to constant bad planning and mismanagement, the airport is not yet operative. The first flights should start in 2018, but mayor of Berlin announced, that it can also take until 2019 for the airport to be active. The new concepts of Air Berlin were adapted to the new airport, and not to the current airport Berlin Tegel.