Delay on decision for Air Berlin buyers

A final decision on buyers for the assets of Air Berlin has been pushed back to September 25, the day after Germany’s federal election and four days later than previously planned.

German union Verdi, which among other represents cabin crew, criticised the decision by administrators to delay the announcement.

“This postponement is at the expenses of the workers, who want a decision on their jobs and their future,” Verdi union board member Christine Behle said.

Lufthansa and several other parties have bid for parts of insolvent Air Berlin by yesterday’s deadline as administrators look for investors for Germany’s second largest airline.

Air Berlin, which employs more than 8,000 people, filed for bankruptcy last month after major shareholder Etihad Airways withdrew funding following years of losses.

Germany’s coalition government led by Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is seeking a fourth term in a federal election on September 24, last month loaned Air Berlin €150m to prevent its planes from being grounded.

Most potential investors appear interested primarily in the airline’s roughly 140 aircraft and its airport landing and take-off slots rather than in taking over the business.

Lufthansa plans to offer a three-digit million euro sum for up to 90 planes, including Austrian unit Niki’s fleet and 38 crewed planes it already leases from Air Berlin.

Britain’s EasyJet is interested in up to 40 planes.

Former Formula One world champion Niki Lauda said he would put in a joint bid with German airline Condor, part of holiday firm Thomas Cook.

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