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Air Berlin (AB, Berlin Tegel) suffered first quarter losses of EUR293.3 million (USD328 million), an increase of 60% on losses for the same period last year. Its first quarter financial results, published this week, also show that revenue was down EUR87.5 million (USD98 million) to EUR649.6 million (USD726.5 million) for the quarter.
According to Air Berlin, the ‘fluctuations’ were a result of the realignment of its business model which saw a reduction in capacity of 7.9%, a decline in the number of aircraft by 2.7%, and a fall in the number of flights by 8.2%. It also says it was affected by capacity bottlenecks at Berlin Tegel airport caused by a new ground service provider.
Air Berlin has recorded increased net losses year on year since 2013.
News of the disappointing first quarter was followed by speculation that Etihad Airways (EY, Abu Dhabi Int’l) may be weighing up its options about its stake in the loss-making carrier. Bloomberg reports that Etihad is looking to bring in financial advisers to help it to decide what to do with its 29.2% Air Berlin stake.
The Abu Dhabi-based carrier recently granted a EUR350 million (USD391.5 million) loan facility to the struggling German airline.
At that time, Etihad CEO James Hogan said: “We are seeing the first structural changes that are necessary to create a sustainable future for Air Berlin.” But Etihad now sees itself exposed to Air Berlin for EUR2 billion (USD2.19 billion), while the future of another of its investments, Alitalia (AZ, Rome Fiumicino), remains uncertain.