Etihad close to sorting out the AirBerlin problem

Eleanor Steed
By Eleanor Steed September 27, 2016 09:21

Etihad close to sorting out the AirBerlin problem

Air Berlin is reportedly planning to reduce its fleet by half over the coming months in a move to make the airline profitable.

German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung reported yesterday that AirBerlin is aiming to reduce its staff headcount by 1,000 and downsize its fleet to around 70 aircraft by the end of 2016. This is all under the guidance of Etihad Airways, reports the newspaper. The report added that Etihad Airways was in talks with Lufthansa and TUI to sell 17 aircraft owned by Air Berlin’s Austrian subsidiary Niki to TUIfly, and leasing 40 aircraft to Lufthansa.

Anything that saves the AirBerlin brand is a good thing. The question is whether Wizz, NAS, easyJet and Ryanair attempt to move-in and fill any void as they did so quickly when Malev closed-down.

Meanwhile, MAS might wish it had Etihad behind them trying to sell or take their A380 aircraft. MAS CEO Peter Bellew commented to the press yesterday that the A380 is the perfect aircraft for the Haj and umrah. He is not wrong; there is no question that the mighty and brilliant 747-400, which services the haj and umrah market, is coming to the end of its life and a cheap A380 could well be a perfect replacement. But is the A380, just 12-years old and less, to be consigned to this market already? Some early aircraft might just be, the SIA aircraft off lease is a good candidate, it was purchased originally at over 50% off list price and investors just need to make-up 25% to clear-out in the black on a deal in the here and now. So who would buy an A380 for US$50m? That is not Haj and umrah operator price point territory. Will an early run A380 go for less than that?

Eleanor Steed
By Eleanor Steed September 27, 2016 09:21