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1ST LEAD Report: Bankrupt Air Berlin in talks with three potential buyers By Benedikt von Imhoff, dpa

Europe
17.08.2017
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Berlin (dpa) - Air Berlin is currently in talks with three potential buyers as the bankrupt airline looks to sell off its assets, chief executive Thomas Winkelmann told Germany‘s FAZ broadsheet.

"Alongside Deutsche Lufthansa, we are in contact with two other interested parties from the field of aviation," Winkelmann said, adding that the discussions have been ongoing for weeks.

The airline boss did not give the names of the firms but told the newspaper on Thursday that they are "serious in financial terms [and] sufficiently large in capacity, in order to offer a secure future to Air Berlin."

The parties "would also be interested in continuing to operate from a location in Germany," he added.

Germany‘s second-largest commercial airline filed for insolvency on Tuesday after its main shareholder, Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways, withdrew financial aid for the loss-making carrier.

Air Berlin employs 7,200 people in Germany.

The German government has provided the company with a temporary credit of 150 million euros (176 million dollars) to help it continue operating.

Chancellor Angela Merkel insisted in a YouTube interview on Wednesday that the risk to taxpayers would not have to foot the bill. She said her government was forced to act because bills had to be paid and tickets honoured.

Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel also defended the government loan in comments to dpa.

"We approved a bridging loan for Air Berlin because otherwise 80,000 people would have been stuck at airports each day during the holiday season," he said on Wednesday.

"That would have taken on magnitude of a national crisis," Gabriel added.

 

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