Air Berlin fallout: Etihad sued for $2.3B, given deadline
Air Berlin insolvency administrator is suing Etihad for withdrawing financial aid of then-troubled German airline in August 2017. The Berlin court confirmed that such claim was filed, noting that the Gulf airline is sued for 500 million euros and further damages that could amount to two billion euros.
In April 2017 Etihad has allegedly signed a document, promising to support Air Berlin so the airline can meet its financial obligations. However, in August the same year the Gulf airline withdrew the funding, which resulted in Air Berlin’s bankruptcy, is noted in the claim. Berlin court has confirmed the case in a statement on December 14, 2018. Etihad has until the end of January 2019 to respond.
Etihad, holding a 29% stake, was the biggest shareholder of the German airline. Air Berlin filed for bankruptcy in August 2017 and finally stopped operations at the end of October same year.
German carrier had been struggling for around a decade and faced financial losses almost every year since 2008. In 2016, the airline reported a record €782 million loss, which increased another €293.3 million at the beginning of 2017. Over nine years, Air Berlin lost around 781 million euros.
Despite massive losses the carrier continued selling tickets. Six weeks before going into administration, the airline’s bookings stood at €856 million.
When Etihad’s former CEO James Hogan was replaced by the new chief executive Peter Baumgartner, Abu Dhabi’s patience finally reached its limit and eventually led to Air Berlin’s bankruptcy.
After Air Berlin filed for insolvency in August 2017, German government stepped in providing the carrier €150 million to keep planes in the air for another three months.
Air Berlin’s assets were divided between Lufthansa, EasyJet and Niki Lauda’s Laudamotion.
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