Air Berlin further deleverages via aircraft sales

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Air Berlin sold eight aircraft, worth €172.2 million ($211.4 million), during the second quarter as part of its ongoing deleveraging programme.

The transaction is expected to be completed in the second half of this year.

The sales, which have been recognised as available for sale in the financial statements of 30 June 2012, will ultimately result in a gain, says Air Berlin.

At the end of the second quarter, Air Berlin operated a fleet of 152 aircraft, down from 168 units at 30 June 2011.

During the 12-months period, Air Berlin's Boeing Next Generation net fleet was reduced by six units, two 737-700s and four 737-800s. Its A319 fleet now totals seven aircraft compared with 13 units last year. The A320 fleet was also reduced by seven units while the carrier took two additional A321s during the period. Air Berlin now operates 14 A330s, one additional unit compared with the end of the second quarter of 2011. During the past year, its Bombardier and Embraer regional fleets have remained stable at 17 aircraft.

Air Berlin has set up a €500 million net debt target for the end of this year. At the end of the first half its balance sheet accounted for €2.53 billion, down from €2.26 billion at 31 December 2011. Equity accounted for 4% while debt reached 96%. The carrier fixed assets accounted for 55% while liquid assets reached 12%. Other current asset represented 33%.

Chief executive officer Hartmut Medhorn says the carrier's equity improved by €60 million in the first half of July solely due to the fair value measurement of hedging instruments recognised in equity.