Air Berlin has filed for administration in a German court after minority shareholder Etihad said it could not offer further funding.

Air Berlin’s flights, including those operated by subsidiary NIKI, are expected to “continue as planned” despite the administration thanks to a bridging loan from the German government.

Lufthansa is also “supporting the restructuring efforts” of Air Berlin alongside the government.

“In order to continue with its restructuring, Air Berlin has filed a provisional insolvency proceeding in self-administration at the local court of Berlin-Charlottenburg today (August 15),” said Lufthansa in a statement. 

“Lufthansa is supporting the restructuring efforts of the airline jointly with the German government. This also ensures that all aircraft that are currently operated by Air Berlin under a wet lease agreement for Eurowings and Austrian Airlines will continue operating as before.

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

Etihad, which owns 29.2 per cent of the German carrier, said the administration was “extremely disappointing for all parties”. 

“In April this year, Etihad provided €250 million of additional funding to Air Berlin as well as supporting the airline to explore strategic options for the business,” said Etihad in a statement. 

“However, Air Berlin’s business has deteriorated at an unprecedented pace, preventing it from overcoming its significant challenges and from implementing alternative strategic solutions.
“Under these circumstances, as a minority shareholder, Etihad cannot offer funding that would further increase our financial exposure. We remain open to helping find a commercially viable solution for all parties.

“We expect Air Berlin operations to continue during administration. We have a commercial relationship with Air Berlin across a range of areas, including codeshare operations, and we will support Air Berlin’s management during these difficult times.
“Germany is an important market for Etihad and Abu Dhabi, and we remain committed to providing comprehensive air links as a key enabler of trade and tourism.”

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