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Lufthansa takes over large parts of Air Berlin, and air traffic ends on October 28th. What do the developments mean for customers?

Air Berlin: Bye-bye, Air Berlin

Lufthansa takes over large parts of Air Berlin, and air traffic ends on October 28th. What do the developments mean for customers?

Air Berlin: Bye-bye, Air Berlin

The future of Air Berlin is somewhat clearer: insolvent airline is expected to be sold to Lufthansa in large parts, it intends to take over 81 aircraft and will re-hire approximately 3,000 air-Berlin employees. The precondition is that easyjet will continue to negotiate. The most important answers to end of Air Berlin

What will be out of flight plan?

In recent weeks, despite federal government's transitional credit, Air Berlin has repeatedly cancelled flights of 150 million euros. Since end of September, it was also clear that long-haul connections will no longer be served on 15 October. Finally, on 28th of October, air traffic on short circuit will be completely discontinued. A total of about 200,000 customers are affected. Then Air Berlin will no longer offer flights under its own code, but only act as a service provider for buyer or buyers until EU competition watchdogs have checked sale.

What happens to tickets already booked?

At time it comes to: if connections were booked before August 15th, re is no chance of a refund. On that day, Air Berlin reported bankruptcy. However, those affected can assert ir claims with insolvency administrator. It is probable, however, that re will be no or possibly little compensation. The claims of major creditors are initially served.

Tickets purchased after this date will be refunded if y are affected by cancellation. However, according to Air Berlin, of approximately 100,000 bookings on short haul, this only applies to about 10,000 tickets. Affected persons can make claim via website of Air Berlin.

Particularly affected are customers whose air-Berlin outbound flight is still being carried out but whose return flight is cancelled. They must make a one-way return flight at ir own expense. Lufthansa has announced that it wants to offer its own flights to "fair prices" on affected connections, provided that it has capacity. From Lufthansa circles it was said that it was difficult to estimate how many passengers it was going. Details have not yet been elaborated.

Consumer protectionists require Lufthansa to accept already paid Air Berlin tickets at no extra charge. "Legally, Lufthansa is not obliged to do this because of insolvency proceedings, but it would be a very friendly and accommodating gesture," said head of Federal Association of Consumer Centres (VZBV) Müller to Tagesspiegel.

What applies to package tours?

If an Air Berlin flight has been booked as part of a package tour, providers must provide a replacement flight or reimburse costs due to issued security certificate. In this case, you should contact company directly about which trip was booked. Companies are usually insured for such a case.

This does not apply, however, if only flight has been booked through a travel agency. Then provider only acts as an intermediary. In such a case, however, it must be checked wher travel agency has not purchased whole flight contingents. Then it would be more than just a mediator.

What does Lufthansa do?

The group has announced that it is necessary to improvise for at least half a year until a smooth flight schedule can be guaranteed. "We'll get it," said Lufthansa chief Carsten Spohr. Pilots would be taken out of holiday, and furr aircraft would be organized to accommodate all passengers in Germany.

Lufthansa also wants to quickly replace failing connections on long haul. For example, Berlin-New York line is to be offered and may be supplemented by a second long haul.

Will ticket prices increase?

Lufthansa affirms that it will not exploit its new market power. In fact, on many connections with subsidiary Eurowings, one would be competing for itself, said group chief Spohr. In addition, competition in Europe and worldwide will increase. "We are going from falling prices."

Should this announcement not be true, takeover could also have an impact on remaining long-distance traffic in Germany. Rising fares could also have an impact on price structure of railways and on bus providers, which in recent years are increasingly under pressure from cheap but ecologically dubious low prices for short-haul flights.

In any case, air traffic adviser Gerald Knowl expects a deepened anti-trust review by EU Commission. The market conditions would be checked on individual routes. It could n be good that Lufthansa had to release start and landing rights (slots) on individual connections and n distribute m to competitors.

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