The takeover of Germany’s second biggest airline, Air Berlin, by Lufthansa on Thursday was not a surprise.
Lufthansa will pay €210 million for Air Berlin’s 80 planes, its Austrian leisure travel airline Niki, its LG Walter regional airline, and will take on its 3,000 employees. Lufthansa’s business plan is to merge Air Berlin with its Eurowings subsidiary.
Lufthansa’s CEO Carsten Spohr told Rheinische Post that Lufthansa would invest €1.5 in euros into Air Berlin.
At its peak Berlin Air had 8,000 employees and, since 2008, the company accumulated a debt of €780 million debt accumulated since 2008. Since its parent company Etihad withdrew its supports in August, the German government stepped in with a bridge loan of €150 million.
The loan and the company’s simultaneous bankruptcy have been seen by Ryanair as a ploy to promote the takeover of Air Berlin – the second biggest Airline in Germany – by Lufthansa, continuing in a tradition of promoting “national champions.”
Air Berlin will stop flying under its own banner October 28.
The Irish low-cost carrier, Ryanair, will refer the takeover to the European competition authority, the BBC reports. Ryanair’s CEO Michael O’Leary has called the takeover a “stitch up.”