Air Berlin cuts deeper, awaits decision on its future

The long haul cuts keep on coming for Air Berlin. The bankrupt German airline confirmed on Monday that it will slash its long-haul service to the Caribbean two weeks hence. The flights operate today from its Dusseldorf hub to leisure destinations in Cuba, Mexico and the Dominican Republic. September 25th will be the final operating date for these routes.

Read more: Air Berlin confirms full longhaul shutdown at Tegel (TXL)

Air Berlin’s future remains in doubt as it slashes operations, trying to ride out a 150 million euro bridge loan from the German Government while seeking either an investor or, more likely, an asset takeover. Last week the carrier confirmed that long-haul service from Berlin would cease over the next several weeks. Today’s news also adjusted some of those cancellation dates. Service from Berlin to Los Angeles/San Francisco as well as Dusseldorf-Boston will now end on 25 September, not 1 October.

With all these capacity cuts in place – plus much of the short-haul network already given over to Lufthansa – it is unclear just how many true Air Berlin flights will still be operating by early October. Then again, that might not matter too much as investor bids for the assets are due on Friday with a potential decision made before the end of the month.

Read more: Air Berlin files for bankruptcy protection

The carrier never really built the connecting passenger flow it hoped to develop as a hub-and-spoke carrier. It also faced massive LCC competition on many of its European routes. The net result was an operation that burned through a ton of investor cash, much of it recently from Etihad Airways, as it collapsed.

And, while Lufthansa is expected to win the bid for the assets it is not the only bidder. Aviation investor Hans Rudolf Woehrl, previously seen walking away from the opportunity. His INTRO group is now reported back in the running, with a 500 million euro bid in place. Woehrl indicated that the fleet would be available as charter aircraft for other airlines or, lacking that, his group would bring the airline back to life as a standalone operation.

Read more: TopBonus suspends operations, and I’m actually surprised

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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