After bids were submitted last week, Air Berlin has confirmed it will begin negotiations with Lufthansa and Easyjet to discuss a partial take-over, saying the bids offer good job prospects for its staff.
Lufthansa made an offer to take over Air Berlin subsidiaries Luftverkehrsgesellschaft Walter (LGW) and Niki, as well as parts of the main airline. Meanwhile, Easyjet will negotiate taking over some of Air Berlin’s fleet.
Price details of the purchase will remain confidential once negotiations finish, but Air Berlin says if the deals go ahead as planned there is a good chance the development loan can be repaid. Talks will go on until October 12, according to the airline.
Frank Kebekus, chief representative of Air Berlin, said: “We have not yet achieved the aim of the negotiations. Stable flight operations in the coming days and weeks are essential for success. Anything else will endanger the negotiations.”
Thomas Winkelmann, CEO of Air Berlin, commented: “We are on the way to achieving good job prospects for around 80 per cent of our colleagues with our bidders. Furthermore, there is currently great demand for qualified employees on the labour market. The Federal Employment Office will therefore inform our company headquarters in Berlin about available vacancies. However, we will not be able to breathe a sigh of relief until the US Commission has finally authorised the transactions.”
Winkelmann says the airline would not have been able to reach negotiations without the financial assistance provided by the German government, quoting the relief as a move that saved jobs for its employees.
Air Berlin says the success of the negotiation process depends entirely on whether the bids submitted will satisfy the company’s creditors. Trustee Lucas Flöther commented that rumours of political climate influencing the selection of investors is “completely absurd” and reiterated that the airline’s number one priority is to save as many jobs as possible in the deal.
The company will have to cease its long-haul flight operations by October 15, as aircraft leasing companies are withdrawing their Airbus A330 jets. As such, the connection between Dusseldorf and Los Angeles has been discontinued and further cancellations will follow on October 16.