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Air Berlin courts Lufthansa, easyJet as bidders

Friday, September 22, 2017 - 01:19

Air Berlin's creditors have picked German flagship carrier Lufthansa and Britain's easyJet as possible buyers for the insolvent carrier's aviation business and will negotiate with them for the next three weeks. David Pollard reports.

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Lufthansa and easyJet have emerged as preferred buyers for Air Berlin. Meaning a German flagship carrier and British no-frills operator could be the winners in a carve-up. If some passengers feel like they're the losers .... (SOUNDBITE) (German) PASSENGER [NAME NOT GIVEN], SAYING: "We've been flying with Air Berlin for some 25 years. So it is a pity." (SOUNDBITE) (German) PASSENGER HERBERT HEYDEMANN, SAYING: "Now our return flight as changed. We can't get back to Berlin from New York. We have to fly via Duesseldorf. That is a great hassle. But it is a pity. We've been flying with Air Berlin a lot." But other passengers say they support a move to get Air Berlin through its worst ever turbulence. The company filing for insolvency in August after major shareholder Etihad switched off funding. Lufthansa may, say watchers, be the keenest. Especially if support grows for an all-German solution. (SOUNDBITE) (German) HEAD OF CAPITAL MARKET ANALYSIS AT BAADER BANK, ROBERT HALVER, SAYING: "With the acquisition of Air Berlin they are able to strengthen their budget airline Eurowings. And there is one competitor less, meaning they can raise prices. It's definitively good news for Lufthansa, we have a big national champion, which is exactly what the German government wanted." Lufthansa's CEO has already said it wants to secure 38 crewed planes it leases from Air Berlin, and is interested in a further 20-40 short-haul planes. Other potential bidders are taxiing into position too - even, it's reported, British Airways. While passengers continue to check in ....

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Air Berlin courts Lufthansa, easyJet as bidders

Friday, September 22, 2017 - 01:19