Air Berlin to sell eight aircraft to reduce debt

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Published: August 16, 2012

Air Berlin (AB) will sell eight narrowbody aircraft to increase its core capital, enhance liquidity reserves and reduce debt by €300 million ($ 369.2 million) by year end, it said Wednesday.

The carrier expects to improve its full-year target from €200 million to €230 million in savings from its cost-cutting Shape & Size program (ATW Daily News, June 13).

By the end of June, AB reduced its fleet to 152 from 165 in the year-ago period. By year end, its fleet will be reduced to 144 aircraft.

High fuel prices resulted in a second-quarter net loss of €66.2 million, worsened from €43.9 million year-over-year. Revenue increased 1.7% to €1.13 billion.

CEO Hartmut Mehdorn confirmed that AB aims to return to an operating profit in 2013.

The carrier fears that yet another delay in the opening of Berlin Brandenburg International Airport (BER) will further affect its yearly financial performance. Several German media outlets report the latest opening date of March 2013 is unlikely to be met and delays could go into the summer or even fall of next year. BER was originally supposed to open in November 2011 (ATW Daily News, June 7).

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