FRANKFURT, Germany – Regulators in charge of carving up failed German carrier Air Berlin were on Saturday analyzing a bid lodged by British low-cost carrier easyJet to acquire a part of the insolvent airline’s operations from the capital’s Tegel airport.
The Luton-based budget airline announced its 40-million-euro ($46-million) bid to acquire up to 25 of Air Berlin’s Airbus A320 aircraft and incorporate some 1,000 of the bankrupt carrier’s pilots, cabin crew, and Tegel ground staff, boosting easyJet’s presence in Germany.
“This will enable easyJet to operate the leading short-haul network at Tegel connecting passengers to and from destinations across Germany and the rest of Europe,” easyJet said in a statement released on Friday, adding that it would soon announce the new routes.
Meanwhile, Air Berlin made its last flight, AB6210 from Munich to Berlin, late Friday and was received at Tegel with an arch of water plumes from the airport’s firefighting trucks.
Air Berlin had been Germany’s second-largest airline for much of its 40-year lifespan before hitting bankruptcy.
Regulators are expected to process the offer by December 2017, meaning that easyJet could begin limited operations over the winter period and expand into full operations by summer 2018.
EasyJet said that securing space at Tegel airport, along with its current operation in Berlin Schoenefeld, would make it the leading airline in the German capital.
German flagship carrier Lufthansa has agreed to buy the largest share of Air Berlin, including the purchase of the budget airline’s Austrian vacation carrier, Niki, and it regional operator, LGW.
Air Berlin filed for insolvency in August after its main shareholder, Etihad Airways, pulled its support amid falling profits.