Britain’s EasyJet expands in Germany with Air Berlin Deal

EasyJet revealed that it agreed to acquire part of the operations of Air Berlin at Berlin Tegel airport, ending scepticism regarding the future of the failed remaining assets of the airline and strengthening the position of the British carrier in Germany.

On Friday, EasyJet said that it would enter into leases for a maximum of 25 A320 aircraft amounting to 40 million euros (35.38 million pounds) and acquire landing and take-off slots, making the announcement after final ever flight of Air Berlin landed at Tegel.

“This will enable easyJet to operate the leading short-haul network at Tegel connecting passengers to and from destinations across Germany and the rest of Europe,” said easyJet in a statement.

The deal will make easyJet, which currently operates only out of Berlin Schoenefeld airport, the leading carrier in the German capital, it said.

Air Berlin was established almost 40 years ago and carried about 30 million passengers per year. It was well loved among Germans for its flights to Mallorca, a holiday island, and also for the chocolate hearts it distributes after every flight. However, in August, it filed for administration after years of losses.

Two weeks ago, Lufthansa had already agreed to take over the majority of the operations of Air Berlin while talks had continued with easyJet.

However, this week a deal was thrown into uncertainty, with Thomas Cook’s Condor also being brought into discussions with Air Berlin.

EasyJet said that it would run a decreased timetable at Tegel during the winter. However, it would strive for a complete summer schedule next year.

The British budget airline added that it would attempt to recruit about 1,000 Air Berlin cabin crew and pilots, on local contracts.