Airberlin Update: Many Long-Haul Routes Cut In September & Potential Bidders Emerging

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Airberlin filed for bankruptcy two weeks ago (read more here) after Etihad was unwilling to fund the airline further. The Topbonus frequent flyer program followed last week (read more here).

Airberlin TXL

Now, the airline has confirmed the long-haul routes that will be cut starting from mid-September and several airlines are emerging as potential suitors for Airberlin aircraft and crews (the airline has hardly any assets though).

New York Times run a Reuters articles yesterday (access here) and German paper Berlizer Zeitung (access here) had interesting info as well.

Long-haul routes terminated in mid-September – October (exact dates unclear):

  • Berlin – Abu Dhabi
  • Berlin – Chicago
  • Berlin – San Francisco
  • Berlin – Los Angeles
  • Dusseldorf – Boston

Here’s an excerpt from New York Times

German airline Lufthansa aims to take on around a dozen of Air Berlin’s 17 long-haul aircraft and their transatlantic routes in a carve-up of the insolvent carrier, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters on Tuesday.

Former motor racing driver Niki Lauda has expressed interest in buying back leisure unit Niki, which he founded, and aviation investor Hans Rudolf Woehrl wants all of Air Berlin.

Labour bosses bemoaned that all the bidders were so far focusing on Air Berlin’s aircraft, routes and landing slots and neglecting the 2,800 workers at its maintenance unit and in administration. Air Berlin has a total of 8,000 workers.

Here’s an excerpt from Berliner Zeitung (Google translate):

Buyers can submit offers according to company details until 15th September. “Air Berlin will quickly complete the investor process,” said a spokesman on Tuesday. However, he objected to information from the creditor committee, according to which the bidding period would end on 13 September and the panel would be able to make first decisions two days later. A believer’s gathering would be at a later date, the spokesman said.

The British Easyjet and the Thomas Cook subsidiary, Condor, are also interested in parts of Air Berlin. This Wednesday, a discussion with the Nuremberg company Hans Rudolf Wöhrl is planned, which the airline as a whole wants to take over. Lufthansa is particularly interested in the tourism subsidiary Niki and also offers for the long-haul fleet of Air Berlin.

Conclusion

We should know lot more in about two weeks time after the bids are in on September 13 and the results are announced on September 15. Seems to be quite clean and efficient process in Germany.

It is quite clear that most of the office workers will be let go once the Airberlin brand will disappear. Obviously there will be need for airline maintenance unless it is outsourced and Lufthansa is very strong in this field.

Those that have flights on Airberlin or tickets issued on Airberlin ticket stock should just wait until the process have played out to find out what the end result is. Could be that the tickets are honored if the routes are operated by some other airline. Nobody knows at this time.

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