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For German Expansion, Parts Of Air Berlin Clinched By EasyJet

For German Expansion, Parts Of Air Berlin Clinched By EasyJet
Ending uncertainty over the fate of the failed airline's remaining assets, and by agreeing to buy part of Air Berlin's operations at Berlin Tegel airport, EasyJet has strengthened its position in Germany.
Making the announcement shortly after Air Berlin's final flight landed at Tegel, acquire take-off and landing slots, and offer jobs to staff, EasyJet said late Friday it would enter into leases for up to 25 A320 aircraft.
Because Air Berlin planes are leased, those will have to be funded separately, the purchase price is 40 million euros ($46.43 million), but this does not include any transition costs.
It had successfully closed all negotiations for its carve-up and this was possible by the deal, Air Berlin said Saturday. Since the early summer, sale talks with EasyJet had been held, it added.
There were no comments made by the British carrier.
EasyJet said that it will become the leading carrier in the German capital, by the completion of the deal as the airline currently operates only out of Berlin Schoenefeld airport.
"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.
Lufthansa expects to invest around 1.5 billion euros in total and is taking on Air Berlin operations with about 81 aircraft, in comparison. Fleet investments of around 1 billion and a purchase price of 210 million euros are included in that value
Because the easyJet deal gives Lufthansa a competitor in the domestic German market, therefore the deal with easyJet, which is subject to regulatory approval, could help to ease some of the worries with the Lufthansa deal.
While others like easyJet and Ryanair had focused on routes to and from Germany, Air Berlin had been the main rival for inner-Germany routes.
Carrying around 30 million passengers a year, Air Berlin was founded nearly 40 years ago. the company filed for administration in August after years of losses even though, for the chocolate hearts it gives out after each flight, and for its flights to holiday island Mallorca, the airline was beloved by Germans.
There were also no comments on Saturday from Thomas Cook's German airline Condor, which had also been interested in some of Air Berlin.
Passengers in Germany could struggle to find plane tickets this winter due to the grounding of Air Berlin from Saturday. Lufthansa says it cannot make up the gap on its own even though it is using bigger planes meant for intercontinental routes.
EasyJet said it would aim for a complete summer schedule in 2018 and would run a reduced timetable at Tegel during the winter.
The airline has also written to crew at its Hamburg base, which it is closing, to say there is a place for them in Tegel if they want and said that it will look to recruit around 1,000 Air Berlin pilots and cabin crew, on local contracts.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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