In the bidding race for parts of the insolvent airline Air Berlin, a new alliance has formed: the entrepreneur Lauda wants to submit an offer with the Condor company. Flight operations have now normalized.
The entrepreneur Niki Lauda wants to bid for parts of Air Berlin together with Thomas Cook and his daughter Condor. According to a report in the Austrian daily "Kurier", they want to take on leasing contracts for 38 aircraft from Air Berlin and their daughter Niki. In a radio interview, Lauda said that he wanted to offer 100 million euros.
Lauda announced that the offer would be submitted to the insolvency administrator on Friday. The founder and former owner of Niki wants to take over 51 percent of the consortium and in future only fly to tourist destinations. The Condor mother, Thomas Cook, should take care of passengers.
Air Berlin has been bankrupt since mid-August and can only fly on thanks to a government loan of 150 million euros.
Bidding race with several interested parties
Interested parties can submit a purchase offer for the group or parts of it by Friday. Lufthansa had officially declared its interest in Air Berlin. The entrepreneur Hans Rudolf Wohrl claims to offer up to half a billion euros.
The low-cost airline Easyjet is also considered a possible buyer. According to insiders, the Chinese operating company of Parchim Airport in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Link Global Logistics, is also considering an offer.
Only a few flight cancellations due to sick leave
Regarding the unusually high number of sick reports from pilots with Air Berlin pilots, Lauda said that these were "pure poison for Air Berlin". He does not understand "why the pilots accelerate bankruptcy before Air Berlin is sold".
Even today, several connections are canceled due to the sickness reports, but compared to the two previous days there have been significantly fewer flight cancellations. In Berlin-Tegel four connections had to be canceled, in Dusseldorf and Stuttgart there were two each and in Frankfurt a plane could not take off.
Around 200 flights were canceled on Tuesday and Wednesday. Then there was the all-clear that many crews were returning to their workplaces. Employees fear for their income and jobs if Air Berlin is broken up as planned. CEO Thomas Winkelmann appealed to the pilots: "Report back from the off voluntarily."
Federal Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt said: "I can only appeal to everyone to let their senses return and to let the flights take place." Anything else would endanger the rescue of the airline, said the CSU politician. Federal Minister of Labor Andrea Nahles criticized the behavior of the pilots as "extremely unsolidary". Air Berlin is in a difficult position.