Lufthansa and easyJet are in talks to take over parts of Air Berlin after administrators of the bankrupt carrier selected the two airlines’ bids from the offers submitted last week.
The Air Berlin supervisory board confirmed its acceptance of the bids, with negotiations on the carve-up the carrier expected to last until October 12.
Lufthansa is reported to have offered €200 million for up to 78 of Air Berlin’s short-haul aircraft, plus €100 million to meet the costs of continued operations, but all parties declined to reveal the price of bids.
The Air Berlin board confirmed EasyJet had submitted an offer “to take some of the Air Berlin fleet”.
It suggested: “A successful conclusion of the negotiations will open up job prospects for several thousand employees.”
However, Lufthansa’s bid is understood to involve the transfer of only 3,000 of Air Berlin’s 8,000 employees.
The German pilots’ union also suggested Lufthansa wants to pay Air Berlin crew about 30% less than they earn under their current contracts.
EasyJet is understood to be keen to take over Air Berlin operations at Berlin’s Tegel airport and at Dusseldorf.
Chief representative of the board, Frank Kebekus, said: “We have not yet achieved the aim of the negotiations.”
But he claimed: “We are on the way to achieving good job prospects for around 80% of our colleagues with our bidders.”
Kebekus appealed for Air Berlin staff to continue working, suggesting: “Stable flight operations in the coming days are essential for success. Anything else will endanger the negotiations.”
A succession of Air Berlin services were due to end this week. Malaysia Airlines revealed it has agreed to take over the leases of six Air Berlin long-haul A330 aircraft.
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