I’ve written a few posts about Air Berlin, but it seems as though the end has now finally arrived. Bloomberg reports that the last possible day of operations will be October 28th. I only flew them the once, and quite enjoyed the experience.
The assets in the airline are still being parcelled up between easyJet and Lufthansa, however that’s going to take some time to complete.
However it looks like most of the staff will be very sadly losing their jobs as the prospective buyers will likely be hiring new people rather than taking on the existing obligations.
For those people with miles in TopBonus, their frequent flier programme, it’s possible to get at least some value out of the programme by redeeming for money off Sixt car rental vouchers, however it’s not great value; 5,000 miles will buy you a €10 voucher and 12,500 miles a €25 one. However it’s better than losing everything as was the case until a couple of weeks ago.
Like Monarch, formerly the UK’s fifth largest airline, it’s clearly a difficult time for carriers, despite the historically low fuel prices.
Interestingly there are a variety of rumours about the financial viability of Norwegian. They’ve expanded rapidly, both in the Europe and also introducing new low cost transatlantic services.
By all accounts, they’re particularly leveraged and may not have sufficient cash to last them through the slower winter months. Michael O’Leary even predicted the demise of Monarch in this article a few weeks ago so it will be interesting to see if his prediction comes true a second time.
Who’s next? My bet is on Alitalia.