German carrier Air Berlin (AB/BER) has today filed for bankruptcy protection in the Berlin courts.
The airline has posted losses for the last nine years and its biggest investor, Abu Dhabi based Etihad Airways has decided to end financial support for the struggling carrier.
It is understood that the German Government has provided a bridging loan of €150m.
National carrier Lufthansa appears to be looking to take control of at least part of Air Berlin. In a statement, they said “Lufthansa is already in negotiations with the Air Berlin Group to take over parts of Air Berlin. Lufthansa intends to conclude these negotiations successfully in due course.”
A spokesperson for Etihad said: “This development is extremely disappointing for all parties especially as Etihad has provided extensive support to Air Berlin for its previous liquidity challenges and restructuring efforts over the past six years.”
“As a minority shareholder, Etihad cannot offer funding that would further increase our financial exposure. We remain open to helping find a commercially viable solution for all parties.”
On Twitter Air Berlin CEO, Thomas Winkelmann said: “All flights operated by airberlin & NIKI will continue as planned and our flight schedule remains valid!”
— airberlin (@airberlin) August 15, 2017