Air Berlin confirms deadline for bids

German carrier Air Berlin aircraft at Tegel airport in Berlin Germany

Air Berlin confirms deadline for bids

"Air Berlin will complete the investor process quickly", says the Oneworld member, which filed for insolvency earlier this month after shareholder Etihad signalled it was ending financial support.

Bidders for assets of insolvent German airline Air Berlin have until September 15 to submit their offer, a spokesman for Air Berlin said in an e-mailed statement on Tuesday.

The German government has agreed a €150m loan to keep planes in the air, and Lufthansa is now eyeing the troubled airline's long haul routes.

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The pugnacious Ryanair boss said awarding Air Berlin to Lufthansa would give Germany's flagship carrier control over "95 percent of the domestic market". EasyJet has also been linked with the process.

German newspaper Bild has reported that Lufthansa - which already leases 38 of Air Berlin's 140 planes - could buy up to 70 aircraft with as many as 3,000 crew for its low-priced subsidiary Eurowings.

Lufthansa, which has the German government's backing to take over major parts of Air Berlin, could acquire as many as 90 of its planes, including 38 aircraft it is already leasing from the airline and its leisure unit Niki, another source told Reuters this month. However, the German government has insisted that it is not involved in talks on the sale of Air Berlin and does not have a preferred outcome for the process.

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Ryanair has lodged complaints with German and European Union anti-trust authorities, urging them to investigate the "obvious conspiracy playing out in Germany".

According to Ryanair, the new Brandenburg airport will have a capacity of 27 million passengers, which is less than the airport in Dublin - a city with one-third of Berlin's population.

Italian daily newspaper La Stampa reported on Monday that Ryanair, Lufthansa and Easyjet are the most interested bidders for the fleet and flight operations of Alitalia and that the company may be sold in two parts.

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