Air Berlin Files for Bankruptcy; Israel Flights Unaffected for Now

The company, which has popular routes to Israel, is in negotiations with Lufthansa and other firms to sell off parts of the airline

Bloomberg

Low-cost airline Air Berlin has filed for bankruptcy after Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways, its main shareholder, stopped financing it.

The German government announced Tuesday that it would provide Air Berlin with a bridging loan to keep its flight schedule in operation. The company, which has popular routes to Israel, is in negotiations with Lufthansa and other firms to sell off parts of the airline.

Lufthansa confirmed that it was in talks to take over parts of the business, while a source said EasyJet was the second airline referred to by the government as being in talks with Air Berlin. The British budget carrier declined to comment.

Air Berlin has booked losses of 1.2 billion euros over the past two years and depended on Etihad’s funding. The company recently underwent a reorganization, leasing some of its fleet to Lufthansa. Passengers have experienced delays and cancellations over the past several months because of its difficulties.

As Moni Bar, Air Berlin’s representative in Israel, put it, “As of now we have not been informed of any change, and all operations are continuing as usual.” He added: “Flights are departing and sales are continuing. According to the announcement, it seems the German government will find a solution to keep Air Berlin operating. I think it will be similar to what happened with Alitalia.”