Airberlin cancels operations to, from Abu Dhabi

Dubai: German carrier airberlin will cancel its operations between Berlin and Abu Dhabi starting September 15 just weeks after the airline filed for insolvency.

Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways, which owns nearly 30 per cent of airberlin, said in a statement on its website that it is rebooking its customers onto alternative Etihad flights.

“We have been advised that airberlin is cancelling its operations between Berlin and Abu Dhabi starting on September 15 to October 31, 2017. We are now re-booking our customers onto alternative Etihad flights from that date,” Etihad’s statement said.

It continued, “In addition, due to market uncertainty, we have taken the decision to re-book our customers due to fly with airberlin, from November 1 onwards, onto alternative flights.”

The cancellation of flights to Abu Dhabi comes as airberlin grapples with uncertainty over its future after Etihad Airways said it is withdrawing financial support for the German budget carrier. Media reports suggest airberlin will also be cancelling other long-haul flights including some routes to the US.

In mid-August, Etihad said it will not offer further funding to the struggling carrier, and described airberlin’s move to file for administration as “extremely disappointing for all parties.”

Meanwhile, Deutsche Lufthansa AG said it may buy parts of airberlin. A Reuters report earlier this week said that Lufthansa was eyeing 12 of airberlin’s long-haul aircraft in order to gain market share in that segment. Lufthansa currently does not offer long-haul flights from Berlin.

At least half a dozen bidders for airberlin’s assets are now racing to submit their offers before a deadline in mid-September, Reuters reported.

In its statement, Etihad Airways urged its customers who are flying on airberlin to contact their travel agency or visit the airline’s website to view their booking and print an updated itinerary.

Etihad bought a 29 percent stake in airberlin in 2012 as part of a plan to expand its global network. That strategy also saw Etihad acquire a stake in Alitalia, another major European carrier that also filed for administration in early May 2017.

Published on Gulf News.