Easyjet, the second largest budget airline in Europe after Ryanair, is in talks to take over up to half of the 70,000 flying slots which Air Berlin currently owns at Düsseldorf Airport, according to a report in the RP on Tuesday.
These slots would include flights from Düsseldorf to Munich, Berlin, Zürich, Hamburg and Copenhagen.
Lufthansa is currently in talks to buy over large parts of Air Berlin, but due to cartel regulations it won’t be able to buy slots where Air Berlin’s only competitor is the Lufthansa subsidiary Eurowings.
“The anti-cartel authorities won’t accept Lufthansa taking over services in those places where Air Berlin has been the most important competitor to Eurowings,” the RP quoted one aviation branch insider as saying. “In those areas easyJet is offering itself as a buyer.”
The news that the British airline could be on the verge of moving into the German domestic travel market has been greeted favourably by consumer rights groups as well as Germany’s pilots’ union.
“If Easyjet starts offering cheap flights out of Düsseldorf, that’ll be good for customers,” Wolfgang Schuldzinski from the NRW consumer rights centre told RP.
Air Berlin filed for insolvency on August 15th. The federal government has provided the company with a €150 million bridging loan, so that it can keep flying regular services for three months while it tries to find a buyer.