Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr announced his company will take over the majority of Air Berlin’s assets, including 81 aircraft.
Speaking to reporters, Sphor said Lufthansa would invest at least €1.5BN and offers jobs to at least 3,000 (and possibly more than 6,500) Air Berlin staff.
Air Berlin will cease longhaul operations in 48 hours (on October 15, 2017) and cease all operations by October 28th. Even as aircraft and staff will survive, the Air Berlin name will not. Lufthansa will pay €210MN for the acquisition.
Lufthansa Will Help Stranded Air Berlin Passengers for a “Fair Price”
Air Berlin passengers who will be stranded by Air Berlin’s untimely demise may not be totally out of luck. While Sphor avoided making any promises or even hinting that Air Berlin tickets would be simply honored on Lufthansa, he stated Lufthansa planned to help stranded Air Berlin passengers “at a fair price if we have the capacity to do so”. That’s really a textbook example of an illusory promise.
New Eurowings Longhaul Routes to Fill Air Berlin Void
Lufthansa’s low-cost Eurowings subdivision will step into to fill many of the voids Air Berlin will leave. New routes from Dusseldorf (DUS) will include:
- Punta Cana – starting November 08th
- Puerto Plata – starting December 14th
- Varadero – starting December 16th
- Cancun – starting December 18th
- Fort Myers – starting next summer
- Los Angeles – starting next summer
- New York – starting next summer
I expect further expansion from Dusseldorf and perhaps even Berlin. (Lufthansa will already serve New York from Berlin).
Competition Concerns Dismissed
Sphor dismissed talk of Lufthansa becoming the German airline cartel, stating that he expected prices to continue to drop. He added that Eurowings will compete with Lufthansa on several routes.
The Lufthansa takeover must still be approved by regulators, but seems to be moving full steam ahead. Look for low-cost Eurowings to fill in the void left by Air Berlin, as Lufthansa tries to take on EasyJet and Ryanair in Europe. Ryanair has vowed to challenge the decision, but faces an uphill legal battle.