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Merkel rules out taxpayers footing the bill for Air Berlin rescue

Europe
16.08.2017
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Berlin (dpa) - Chancellor Angela Merkel ruled out taxpayers footing the bill for Air Berlin‘s rescue and said a government-backed 150-million-euro (175.5-million-dollar) bridge loan would head off the threat of the insolvent airline‘s collapse.

Berlin was forced to act because bills had to be paid and tickets honoured, Merkel said.

The risk to taxpayers was "relatively small," Merkel said in a YouTube interview on Wednesday.

"Otherwise," she said, "we would not have been permitted to provide this bridging loan."

A Ministry for Economic Affairs spokeswoman said it believed Air Berlin‘s talks with Lufthansa and other airlines, such as EasyJet, that are seeking to carve it up would be completed quickly.

However, Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair said its believed there was a "conspiracy" between Berlin and Lufthansa over Air Berlin‘s future.

Ryanair‘s comments came after the airline filed complaints with both the German and European competition authorities over Air Berlin‘s insolvency, accusing Berlin of violating anti-monopoly laws by paving the way for Lufthansa to take over Air Berlin.

European Commission spokesman Ricardo Cardoso said Wednesday that the commission and Germany were in "constructive contact" about the issue.

Merkel said the Federal Government had "very carefully considered" the decision to provide Air Berlin with the temporary loan to keep the carrier flying for three months.

Air Berlin‘s new chief representative Frank Kebekus told dpa he expected the airline‘s insolvency process to begin on November 1.

Air Berlin is Germany‘s second-largest airline and employs 7,200 people in the country.

 

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