October 20, 2017 / 11:20 AM / 3 months ago

Air Berlin plane grounded in Iceland over unpaid charges

FRANKFURT/BERLIN (Reuters) - An Air Berlin (AB1.DE) airliner was grounded at Iceland’s Keflavik airport late on Thursday because the insolvent German carrier had not paid its airport charges, Keflavik operator Isavia said in a statement.

It said the unpaid charges had been incurred before Air Berlin, which has struggled to turn a profit over the last decade, filed for insolvency on Aug. 15.

According to German magazine Stern, the Airbus A320 landed at Keflavik at 10:35 p.m. local time on Thursday and was due to depart for Duesseldorf just after midnight.

Air Berlin said the grounding was “unlawful” and “unacceptable”.

An Air Berlin Airbus A320-214 parks at the Keflavik airport near Reykjavik, Iceland October 20, 2018. The insolvent German carrier has not paid its airport charges, as reported in a statement by Keflavik operator Isavia. REUTERS/Gerix

“We have told Keflavik airport repeatedly that any outstanding demands of payment relating to the time before Aug. 15 must be registered on the insolvency table due to insolvency law,” Air Berlin said in a statement.

“We have called on Keflavik airport to cease its unlawful actions immediately,” it added.

    Air Berlin’s flights have been kept aloft by a government loan since the airline’s insolvency filing, giving the carrier time to negotiate with prospective buyers for its assets. It has said flights will cease by Oct. 28 at the latest.

    Lufthansa (LHAG.DE) has agreed to buy large parts of Air Berlin. Talks with other possible buyers including Britain’s easyJet (EZJ.L) are continuing.

    Reporting by Maria Sheahan and Christian Kraemer; editing by Jason Neely, Greg Mahlich

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