FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways on Friday confirmed its commitment to its investment in Air Berlin’s AB1.DE leisure airline Niki.
Struggling airline Air Berlin was the center of a deal between Etihad, which owns almost 30 percent of Air Berlin, and Europe’s largest tour operator TUI Group (TUIGn.DE) to create a joint venture holiday airline.
But talks about the joint venture collapsed earlier this week after Etihad had pulled out.
As part of the deal outlined last year, Etihad planned to buy Air Berlin’s airline Niki before combining the business with TUI’s airline TUIfly.
In a statement Etihad’s interim Chief Executive Ray Gammell said that Etihad would support Air Berlin management during the restructuring of the company.
“At the same time we maintain our investment in Niki and expect to close the transaction soon,” he said.
Air Berlin had already received 300 million euros ($335.19 million) from Etihad for Niki, Air Berlin has said in its annual report.
Air Berlin said on Thursday it had asked the German states of North-Rhine Westphalia (NRW) and Berlin to consider possible loan guarantees. The German government said on Friday it was evaluating the request with the two regional governments, noting any support would be contingent upon a sustainable business model for the struggling airline.
Reporting by Harro ten Wolde; Editing by Tom Sims