It’s Official: Airberlin Is Shutting Down By October 28, 2017

Filed Under: Airberlin

Airberlin filed for insolvency in mid-August, and has slowly been shutting down ever since. A couple of weeks ago we learned that airberlin will be ceasing all longhaul routes as of October 15, 2017. Then a bit over a week ago it looked like airberlin would discontinue their short-haul routes by November 1, 2017, based on the fact that they stopped selling “discounted” tickets after that date.

Well, the date by which airberlin will discontinue flights is now official. Bloomberg reports that airberlin has sent out a letter to employees of the airline informing them that they will end flights by October 28, 2017, at the latest. This comes as airberlin is exclusively negotiating with both Lufthansa and EasyJet over their assets, where a decision should be reached by later this week.

The airline is also encouraging employees to find jobs on their own, even though many of airberlin’s planes will be going to other airlines. Per the story:

While the bankrupt carrier is trying to find positions for its roughly 8,600 employees, they should still try to find new jobs on their own because “prospective buyers of parts of Air Berlin intend to appoint new staff in the majority of cases,” Winkelmann and Kebekus wrote. “The Lufthansa group alone has already advertised 1,000 jobs with its subsidiary Eurowings.”

It sure is sad to see such a major airline collapse in front of our eyes so quickly. We see a lot of airlines that struggle financially and end up on life support for years and years (I’m looking at you, Alitalia and South African Airways, just to give a couple of examples), though in this case we’re talking about just over two months from the time the airline filed for insolvency to when they’re liquidating.

This almost makes me want to book another airberlin flight for shortly before they cease operations, just to fly them one more time.

Here’s to hoping that most of airberlin’s ~8,600 employees are able to find new jobs quickly. What a rough situation to be in, especially given how seniority based much of the industry is.

(Tip of the hat to Ray)

  1. Fascinating that the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations that are in force right across the EU don’t seem to apply in this case. In the UK you could maybe make a case in the tribunal system that the transfer of routes, slots and aircraft to a new operator is, in fact, a transfer of an undertaking – and therefore all staff must transfer to the new owner on the same terms as they currently have. Maybe insolvency in Germany is different?

  2. Took two short haul flights in and out of TXL at the end of September, the staffing was already short, I can only imagine how many of the staff will seek other jobs and cause even more cancellations.

  3. An AB flight from JFK to DUS was my first ever TATL business-class experience. it was a good flight (good food, good seat, great staff) at a fantastic price (50k AA miles). not going to be easy getting to anywhere in Europe in J or F with AA miles without AB as an option.

  4. i’m guessing as part of the deals, the creditors made LH to principally to agree give hiring priority to ex-AB crew, but still want to run them through the standard hiring process in case of any red flags.

    Still slightly surprised they didn’t at least give a small piece of it to IAG to balance out the powers.

  5. @Brandon : it’s gonna be exponentially harder now. From the northeast, flights for both EI (DUB) and IB (MAD) are way too short to get any meaningful sleep, while AY (HEL) is a really long detour for the vast majority of continental Europe.

    That said, I see AB’s collapse as a very good opportunity for IAG to lure LOT Polish Air over to onweorld, but I’d imagine LOT would only agree if-and-only-if they’re guaranteed entry into the AA-BA atlantic JV. Anything less than JV is a huge cost exercise with barely any gains.

  6. @Lucky – P.S. Pakistan airlines (PIA) announced that they will cease all flights to US starting October 31. You can see the rest of the information as I left you a comment yesterday on your PIA review.

  7. I would love a last review, as late into October as possible before it vanishes. Must be so emotional to fly with them. Go for it Lucky!!!!

  8. Hey Lucky, FYI: Qatar airways will start to fly from Doha to Prague twice a day from end of the year

  9. I was booked on an AA business milesaaver award ticket for next January with the intra-Europe flight operated by Airberlin and the transatlantic flight to the US operated by BA. Called the EXP desk today and was reaccomodated on AA flights all the way home in business even though they were not available at milesaaver. Better routing and saved me the $800 of BA surcharges!

  10. Booked a return ticket within Europe in November just prior to the insolvency announcement. No way to get a refund and no possibility of getting re-booked on another flight, which really sucks. Best of luck to the hardworking pilots, flight attendants, and ground crew, and other support staff in finding another job. However, I have zero sympathy for management and hope they are never given an opportunity to run another airline into the ground and to screw their customers.

  11. Makes me sad to see another One World member bites the dust. First there was Malev, then Mexicana, then Kingfisher now Air Berlin. Why can’t the alliance find more reliable members? Having flown Air Berlin business from SFO to DUS just this July, I’m sad to see them go.

  12. As I understand it AB is in the German version of UK administration – so if they sell bits of it to other people TUPE should apply and staff should transfer. Of course, they may try to argue they aren’t selling an “undertaking” – just stuff – in which case you can argue that TUPE is irrelevant. Either way, not much to claim against….

  13. My flight from DUS to ZRH this weekend will no longer operate. But I phoned them 3 days ago and they allocated me on another flight via Berlin free of charge. It will be weird to fly an airline (assuming they will not cancel the ones via TXL) knowing that a week later they will no longer exist. Sad.

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