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Air Berlin in talks with three possible asset buyers: CEO

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Insolvent German airline Air Berlin is in talks with a total of three aviation firms, including Lufthansa, to find buyers for its assets, chief executive Thomas Winkelmann told Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), without naming names.

[FRANKFURT] Insolvent German airline Air Berlin is in talks with a total of three aviation firms, including Lufthansa, to find buyers for its assets, chief executive Thomas Winkelmann told Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), without naming names.

All three are "reputable in terms of their finances, sufficiently large to offer Air Berlin a secure future and are interested in keeping Germany as a base of operations", the daily newspaper quoted Winkelmann as saying in its Thursday edition.

Air Berlin, Germany's second-largest airline, filed for bankruptcy protection on Tuesday after key shareholder Etihad Airways withdrew funding following years of losses, leaving valuable runway slots up for grabs.

According to Mr Winkelmann, the negotiations include assets of Air Berlin unit Niki, which Etihad had bought from the German carrier for 300 million euros (S$481.095 million) this year.

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Lufthansa has confirmed it is in talks to take over parts of Air Berlin's business, while a source has said easyJet was also part of the negotiations.

Thomas Cook's German airline Condor said on Wednesday it was ready to play "an active role" in Air Berlin's restructuring, without being more specific.

Mr Winkelmann aims to strike a deal with two or more buyers by the end of September, the newspaper said.

The government granted a bridging loan of 150 million euros to allow Air Berlin to keep its planes in the air for three months and secure the jobs of its 7,200 workers in Germany while negotiations go on.

REUTERS

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