No Etihad, no future: Air Berlin ceased operations due to financial problems
The very last flight of Air Berlin, the bankrupt, second largest German’s airline arrived from Munich to Berlin on 27 October. During 39 years of flying the airline transported almost half a billion passengers.
Air Berlin filed for bankruptcy last August after funding from its major shareholder — Etihad Airways — had stopped. A German government financial support of €150 million ($174 million) helped to keep Air Berlin afloat for a short period of time. The airline has racked more than €2.7 billion ($3.2 billion) of losses during the last 6 years, according to Bloomberg.
Etihad acquired a 29% stake in Air Berlin in 2012 as part of a plan to transport more passengers through its Abu Dhabi hub, he strategy that turned out unsuccessful. «Etihad has notified Air Berlin of the fact that it will not provide any further financial support», said Air Berlin, adding that no positive scenarios were expected. Etihad stated that the funding was stopped after Air Berlin operations deteriorated at an «unprecedented pace» in recent months.
Lufthansa, German’s major airline will take control of 81 of Air Berlin’s 134 airplanes and also 3,000 of its employees. The fate of others, numbered — thousands — is uncertain. On the other side of the story is EasyJet taking over leases for 25 Air Berlin’s Airbus A320 airplanes and it’s slots in the Berlin’s second airport — Tegel. EasyJet should pay €40 million ($46 million) for the jets leases and Tegel slots. EasyJet also launches a recruitment campaign aimed at 1,000 Air Berlin’s pilots and flight attendants. Earlier this year, the England-based airline EasyJet said it was interested in EU-based asset to deal with possible Brexit issues.