German entrepreneur Hans-Rudolf Whrl has offered EUR500 million (USD599 million) for insolvent Air Berlin (AB, Berlin Tegel) with an upfront payment of EUR50 million (USD59.9 million). In a post on his Facebook page, Whrl also welcomed the participation of fellow potential buyers Lufthansa, Condor, TUI fly (Germany), Germania and Niki Lauda (former owner of Niki) in his offer, but said that his Intro Group was also happy to go it alone.
Whrl has bid for the whole of Air Berlin as it was as at 31 December 2016.
Should Whrl beat out his contenders, he plans to keep important Berlin Tegel and Dusseldorf routes, and wet-lease unused aircraft to partner organisations.
"This would allow a largely seamless transition, because Air Berlin would remain an effective airline with technology and administration," Whrl`s post reads. "Substantial savings in the leasing instalments, interest and other commitments will be part of the cost recovery in 2018."
He proposes retaining all staff in anticipation that the airline will soon return to growth. In the event of an onward sale, employees would be eligible to participate in a profit share of EUR100 million (USD120 million). Bids close on September 15, and a buyer is expected to be chosen within a week. Other interested parties include easyJet and logistics company Zeitfracht.
In the meantime, Air Berlin has announced further cuts to its network. Caribbean flights will stop from September 25. Other route cancellations that were announced earlier this month such as from Berlin to Abu Dhabi Int`l, Chicago O`Hare, Los Angeles Int`l and San Francisco, CA, and from Dusseldorf to Boston have been brought forward by a week and will also cease on September 25.
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