Air Berlin Files For Bankruptcy….What Does That Mean For Lufthansa?

Air Berlin Files For Bankruptcy….What Does That Mean For Lufthansa?

Earlier today, Air Berlin had done what most of us were expecting for some time when they filed for Bankruptcy protection.   The filing came primarily as a result of Etihad’s withdrawing of any more funding to help keep the airline viable.   Etihad had been a major stakeholder in ‘AB’ since January 2012.

The bankruptcy leaves Air Berlin in shambles as it is now left to scramble to either reorganize, sell off units, or simply cease operations.    As it stands now, the German government has stepped in with a €150 million bailout that will keep Air Berlin operational for 3 months.   During this time, ‘AB’ will be able to run as normal a schedule as possible, and ensure the employment of its 7,300 workers.   This is especially important since we are in the midst of holiday travel season in Europe.

During this period, Lufthansa will continue business as usual as it relates to the 38 aircraft that it sublet from Air Berlin earlier this year in an effort designed to help AB regroup their operation.

Over the next weeks and months, suitors will emerge hoping to take over important gate space at airports where Air Berlin operates.   Of course, with Berlin and Dusseldorf being the main hubs for AB, I suspected a heated bidding war to arise between the likes of Easyjet and Ryanair as they hope to make further inroads against Lufthansa on LH’s home turf.

Ryanair is already whining about LH having an unfair advantage due to all this happening in Germany, but Ryanair whines because it is what it does best when it doesn’t get its way.

Lufthansa has stated that it expects to compete successfully for the Air Berlin business due to its ‘home field’ advantage and its existing relationship with Air Berlin.  In fact, LH is already in talks with German and Air Berlin officials to craft a way forward that minimizes the impact of a complete shut down of Air Berlin.

Call it luck or brilliance, but Lufthansa appears to have played Air Berlin perfectly.    LH did not spend much time, money, or manpower to take on Air Berlin directly with their Eurowings unit.   Instead they saw the writing on the wall several months ago and waited patiently for their opportunity to arise.   Along the way, they offered help to support their fellow ‘countryman’, knowing full well that AB did not have a chance at survival and that Etihad would pull it’s life line from Air Berlin.   Now in the end, Eurowings is most likely to be the biggest benefactor and should see an exponential increase in size and presence in Europe’s Low Cost Carrier market.    Much to the chagrin of RyanAir, Easyjet, and others.


 

Two More Airlines / Airports Removed From Mid-East Laptop Ban

Two More Airlines / Airports Removed From Mid-East Laptop Ban

Homeland Security this morning removed two more airports from it’s ‘Laptop Ban’ list.

Going forward, Passengers flying on Emirates or Turkish or on other carriers flying from Dubai or Istanbul to the USA will no longer have to check their Laptops.   This comes after Homeland Security confirmed that heighten screening of electronics devices is in place at airports in Dubai and Istanbul (Ataturk).

The announcement come three days after restrictions were lifted on Etihad Airways’ hub Abu Dhabi International Airport.

Due to the ban, Emirates had reduced capacity by 20%, so it seems likely that they will now bring that capacity back to their 12 US destinations.

This now brings the list of ‘Banned’ airports to 7.   Cairo, Casablanca, Riyadh, Jeddah, Doha, Amman, and Kuwait City remain on the list.  Abu Dhabi was removed late last week, allowing Etihad passengers to once again bring their laptops aboard their US bound flights.

 It shouldn’t be too long before all 7 are compliant and the ban disappears altogether.



 
 

Homeland Security Removes One City/Airline From Mid-East Ban List – Electronics Now Allowed On Board

Homeland Security Removes One City/Airline From Mid-East Ban List – Electronics Now Allowed On Board

US Homeland Security announced on Sunday that it has lifted restrictions that prevented passengers from boarding with their electronic devices on Etihad flights that depart for the USA from Abu Dhabi.

Homeland Security confirmed that the airport and airline now meet stricter screening requirements and have immediately been removed from the list.   I suspect that Abu Dhabi was the first to meet the criteria because Etihad already has customs and immigration pre-clearance in place for US bound passengers.  It is the only airport in the Mid-East with this capability.

The remaining 9 airports/cities including Amman, Kuwait City, Jeddah, Riyadh, Istanbul, Cairo, Casablanca, Dubai, and Doha remain on the banned list.   It appears as though many of them will be removed in the coming weeks as Homeland Security confirms security compliance from these airports.

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