[FRANKFURT] Loss-ridden Air Berlin, Germany's No 2 airline, could merge its tourist business with that of TUI's German airline TUIfly, it said on Wednesday, in what could be a major step towards a long-awaited business revamp.
Air Berlin, which has made a net loss in seven of the last eight years, is trying to expand long-haul flights and lure more higher-paying business customers.
It said it would join talks with major shareholder Etihad and TUI about the combination of 35 Air Berlin aircraft with TUIfly, including 14 operated on behalf of TUIfly.
Shares in the group jumped 3.2 per cent higher in early trade, with traders pointing to the impending restructuring.
Industry sources had told Reuters last week that Air Berlin was in talks over a broad restructuring that could halve its fleet and cut 1,000 mainly sales and marketing jobs to shore up its finances and restore profitability.
"The prospective transaction will be subject to successful negotiations and to all necessary corporate and regulatory approvals," Air Berlin said.