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Air Berlin foresees split of assets between Lufthansa and EasyJet

Air Berlin has disclosed that it will continue negotiations with Lufthansa and EasyJet until 12 October as both aim to "take over parts" of the troubled German carrier.

Lufthansa has made an offer for subsidiaries LGW and Niki as well as "parts of Air Berlin", says the Oneworld member, which filed for insolvency in August.

"A successful conclusion of the negotiations will open up job prospects for several thousand employees," it notes.

EasyJet's bid, meanwhile, was aimed at taking over "some of the Air Berlin fleet", which would also "create new job opportunities" for the German airline's employees.

"We are on the way to achieving good job prospects for around 80% of our colleagues with our bidders," states Air Berlin chief executive Thomas Winkelmann.

The airline says the parties have agreed to keep purchase prices confidential, but adds: "If the deals are finalised as planned, there is a good chance that the development loan can be repaid."

General representative Frank Kebekus warns, however, that the talks' aim is "not yet achieved" and that "stable flight operations in the coming days and weeks are essential for success", as "anything else will endanger the negotiations".

Winkelmann is similarly cautious: "We will not be able to breathe a sigh of relief until the EU Commission has finally authorised the transactions."

The administrator Lucas Flother is hopeful that EU approval can be secured by year-end.

Flother dismisses rumours that politics influenced the selection of investors, saying they are "not only completely absurd" but "would be pointless and inconsequential". He stresses: "I would simply not allow such a thing to happen."

While noting a "common goal to protect as many jobs as possible", Flother acknowledges that "we will not be able to save all of the jobs". He adds: "We are currently unable to tell you how many jobs will be protected and how many may be lost. To a great extent, this will become clear during the further course of the negotiations. But be assured of one thing: we will fight for every job."

Air Berlin says it will cease long-haul flight operations by 15 October as "the aircraft leasing companies are gradually withdrawing their Airbus A330 jets". Flights between Dusseldorf and Los Angeles will end on 25 September. Further cancellations will follow on 16 October.

On 29 September, Air Berlin will stop its services linking Munich with Hamburg and Cologne.

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