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BREAKING: Air Berlin Bankrupt

Carrier files for administration under $1.41 billion debt load

German carrier Air Berlin will seek protection under European insolvency laws, after shareholder Etihad Airways said they would no longer financially support the airline. ABC News reports the carrier has filed for the equivalent of bankruptcy protection, carrying approximately $1.41 billion in debt.

In order to stay in the air, the airline will receive a $177 million loan from the German government to continue operations during the summer months. In a statement from the German Economy and Transport Ministries, flying passengers back to the country aboard Air Berlin “would not have been otherwise possible.”

The decision to go into insolvency came after major shareholder Etihad declined to continue financially supporting Air Berlin. The Middle East carrier owns 29.2 percent of Air Berlin and announced the carrier as a charter member in their alliance, Etihad Airways Partners.

“This development is extremely disappointing for all parties,” Etihad said in a press release. “Especially as Etihad has provided extensive support to Air Berlin for its previous liquidity challenges and restructuring efforts over the past six years.”

While Air Berlin decides how to restructure, German flag carrier Lufthansa has announced they may step in to assist their competitor. The airline currently leases 38 Air Berlin aircraft for use on Austrian Airlines and low cost carrier Eurowings, but could substantially increase a hold over the company.

“Lufthansa is already in negotiations with Air Berlin to take-over parts of the Aer Berlin Group and is exploring the possibility of hiring additional staff,” Lufthansa Group said in a press release. “Lufthansa intends to conclude these negotiations successfully in due time.”

Four days prior to the insolvency filing, Air Berlin announced “a positive balance over the past ten months,” while introducing an expansion of Business Class seating on intra-Europe flights. FlyerTalk has reached out to Air Berlin for a statement, but has not received a response as of press time.

Update from FlyerTalk Editors: While the German transport ministry has stepped in with a government subsidy to keep the airline running for 3 months, @FlyingDutchBlog has pointed out that Airberlin tickets issued before August 11th are now non-refundable.


Comments are Closed.
clemmiez August 24, 2017

Totally agree with you. I was treated badly enough in January 2016 by a counter employee at Tagel in Berlin, that I was reduced to tears. And that takes a lot. Not sure whether it was because I was female, American or both. And that was after being instructed by "customer service" on the phone to go to the airport and try to sort it there. Never got a response except when I slammed them on Facebook, and when I followed the instructions they posted there.....nada. Guess keeping my $600 didn't keep them out of bankruptcy. Good riddance to them!

nittfan August 21, 2017

If they do move from insolvency to bankrupt, I for one will not be surprised or unhappy by it. A terribly run airline with no idea of how to provide customer service! Being one of the many, many people treated badly by them (4 years ago), I vowed to never fly with them again. I am sorry about the headaches others will incur while trying to get their money back.

RichWalker August 19, 2017

I had purchased a ticket from Etihad fro travel in December from Katmandu through Abu Dhabi on to Dusseldorf to connect with an AirBerlin nonstop to the west coast of the U.S. As soon as I heard of the pending insolvency filing, I changed my business-class ticket on Etihad, with no change fee. I don't know if the same situation applies for other airlines, but if you booked an AirBerlin ticket as part of a connection through another airline, you may not be out-of-pocket for the ticket.

Full Score August 18, 2017

AirBerlin is a member of the oneworld alliance. Why no protection from them?

GrayAnderson August 18, 2017

I'm sensing a wave of impending credit card disputes. I have no idea how bankruptcy/insolvency laws in Europe interact with contract laws, but I suspect that this is enough for someone wanting to do a change/cancel to be able to put up a fight at /least/ for the difference between a "basic" ticket and a refundable one.