Will Air Berlin planes still fly?
For the short term, yes. The German federal government has provided €150 million in loans to the stricken airline, ensuring that planes will continue to fly for the next three months, Economy Minister Brigitte Zypries announced on Tuesday.
Zypries also did not rule out providing more funds for the company at the end of that three-month period.
What about the long term?
The government hopes that Lufthansa will buy up parts of Air Berlin during the next three months, thus ensuring that by the time the state loan has run out, new owners will be in place who can keep on running services on the Air Berlin lines. One of those owners is likely to be Lufthansa, who announced on Tuesday that they were in talks to buy up parts of their competitor.
Are my tickets still valid?
Apparently, yes. Air Berlin announced on Tuesday that all flights booked with the company remain valid. They also said that the flight plans for the airline and its subsidiary Niki would remain unchanged and that every scheduled flight would take place.
But the airline has been hit by delays and cancellations in recent months and repeatedly sought to reassure customers that everything was okay. So history should tell us that anyone flying with Air Berlin shouldn't be shocked if they are hit by problems.
Can I still buy tickets with Air Berlin?
The company said on Tuesday that customers can buy tickets on all flights which have been scheduled by the company. The Local on Tuesday looked into buying flights from Berlin to Munich in December – i.e. after the government’s three months deadline – and was offered seats starting at €41.60.
What does this mean for ticket prices?
Ryanair are furious about the insolvency, claiming it has been planned to allow for a takeover of the company by Lufthansa, Germany’s largest carrier.
Ryanair spokesman Robin Kiely said that a takeover by Lufthansa would contravene all German and EU competition rules. He also claimed that the German government was supporting Lufthansa by providing €150 million in credit to Air Berlin.
“German travellers as well as people visiting Germany will have to deal with higher prices and will end up paying for the Lufthansa monopoly,” he said.
Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt has claimed that a partial takeover by Lufthansa would not contravene competition rules, as they would not be buying up the whole company. He further claimed that talks were underway with several airlines for the sell-off of other parts of Air Berlin.