Air Berlin accuses the huge delay in the opening of the new Berlin airport for the bankruptcy of the company. In the beginning of the week, the airline announced bankruptcy after Etihad Airways, a key shareholder in the carrier, withdrew its funding. Berlin’s new airport, which is supposed to replace Tegel Airport, had to be operational in 2011. At the beginning of the year, however, it was clear that it will not open this year as well.
“Air Berlin is also a victim of the ongoing postponement of the opening of the new airport”, said the CEO of Air Berlin, Thomas Winkelmann. “Air Berlin has built up its entire concept of traffic based on this airport. The plans of the airline are impossible to implement on Tegel Airport”, added he.
The project for a new airport near Berlin has encountered administrative and technical problems, so its opening was postponed several times. In his interview, Winkelmann says he believes that he can save most jobs by restructuring the company.
The German government has provided the carrier with a bridge loan of 150 million EUR, which should go up to three months while negotiations are underway for the company’s future.
Meanwhile, it became clear that representatives of the German provinces Berlin and Brandenburg and the federal government of Germany will meet tonight in Potsdam at an extraordinary meeting on the future of Berlin’s Tegel Airport.
At the beginning of July, Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt proposed that Tegel continue working after the new Berlin-Brandenburg (BER) new aviation fleet was opened. He justified his proposal with the expected insufficient capacity of the new airport, adding that, in the end, there are other capitals with two airports. The minister, however, did not coordinate his speech with the government or the provinces of Berlin and Brandenburg, which held 37.5% of Tegel Airport.
For now, the unanimous opinion is that Tegel should be closed after the new airport is operational. Continuing its work will have significant financial consequences, warns the Finance Minister of Brandenburg province.
On September 24, alongside nationwide parliamentary elections, residents of Berlin will vote in a local referendum on the fate of Tegel Airport.