Airberlin decision now expected September 25

A decision on insolvent German carrier airberlin will be made September 25, according to a new report.

An airberlin spokesman told news agency Reuters a decision on the bidding process was now planned for September 25 instead of an earlier date announced by the company of September 21.

Airberlin filed for bankruptcy last month after shareholder Etihad said it would not be providing further financial support and pundits are tipping its assets will be split between several bidders.

Binding offers are due Friday and interested parties to have expressed an interest in all or part of the airline include Lufthansa, Ryanair, aviation industry investor Hans Rudolf Woehrl,  and former Formula 1 champion Niki Lauder.

Lauder revealed this week he had put in a 100-euro  bid with Thomas Cook-owned carrier Condor to take 38 leased aircraft from the stricken carrier.

Reuters has been told Lufthansa plans to make an offer for up to 90 planes, those operated by leisure carrier Niki and 38 planes it already leases from  the company.

There have also been reports easyJet is interested in up to 40 planes.

The deadline comes as the airberlin was forced to ground more than 100 flights earlier this week as some 200 of its 1500 pilots called in sick in what was widely seen as a protest over the insolvency.

A German government  loan is currently keeping the carrier operating and the airline warned the September 12 protest could have seriously endangered the insolvency process.

“airberlin employees have always dealt very professionally with the company’s difficult situation. They deserve great credit for that,” airberlin chief executive Thomas Winkelmann said on the carrier’s website.

“But what we’ve seen today with part of the workforce is equivalent to playing with fire. Today has cost us several million euros.

“We are currently conducting final talks with potential investors. It is essential that operations be stable in order for these negotiations to go well. That is the only way to secure as many jobs as possible.”

The airline said maintaining as many jobs as possible was  a key issue in negotiations.

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