Ryanair joins battle for Air Berlin slots at Berlin-Tegel
Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair applied for former Air Berlin slots to base 9 aircraft at Berlin-Tegel airport, which would allow replacing 30% of Air Berlin's capacity with Ryanair's services, der Spiegel informs.
According to Ryanair's chief commercial officer David O'Brien, the carrier is prepared to invest up to $1 billion in additional Berlin aircraft and double its Berlin traffic to 10 million over the next 18 months.
“This investment would guarantee access to Ryanair's lowest fares, and enable Berlin citizens and visitors to avoid the emerging high fare Lufthansa and EasyJet duopoly,” Routes quotes O'Brien.
In October 2017, after bankrupted Air Berlin suspended its flights, EasyJet and Lufthansa announced their plans to take over parts of the carrier's business. Thus, Germany's flag carrier Lufthansa signed a $249 million deal to acquire certain business units from entities of the Air Berlin, including NIKI and LG Walter airlines.
EasyJet agreed to buy some Air Berlin's Tegel operations. The €40 million worth deal includes approximately 25 Airbus 320 aircraft on lease and take-off and landing slots. The purchase agreement is expected to be completed in December 2017, and excludes potential start-up and transitional operating costs and, as it is currently being examined by EU competition regulators.
The acquiring of the Air Berlin's slots at Berlin-Tegel would be an addition to EasyJet's existing base at Berlin Schönefeld and, as EasyJet claims, would make it “the leading airline in Berlin.”
“This agreement is consistent with EasyJet's strategy of purposeful investment in strong number one positions in Europe's leading airports,” the carrier stated back then. “This will enable EasyJet to operate the leading short-haul network at Tegel connecting passengers to and from destinations across Germany and the rest of Europe.”
In response to Ryanair's statement concerning applying for Air Berlin's slots at Tegel, a spokeswoman for EasyJet said that the British airline “looks forward to providing passengers with low fares to a wide range of destinations to and from Tegel,” Reuters informs.