21 AUGUST 2017
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EU competition laws and state aid rules in Europe were called into question by Ryanair last week as it lodged a formal complaint accusing the German government, Lufthansa and airberlin of a “manufactured insolvency” surrounding airberlin.
Ryanair claimed there was an “obvious conspiracy” being played out in Germany between the three parties to “carve up airberlin's assets, while excluding major competitors and ignoring both EU competition and state aid rules”.
Demanding the EU take immediate action, Ryanair added: “This manufactured insolvency is clearly being set up to allow Lufthansa to take over a debt-free airberlin, which will be in breach of all known German and EU competition rules."
The Irish carrier intervened after airberlin filed for insolvency when major shareholder Etihad Airways withdrew financial support. The German airline is still flying, backed by €150m of German government loans as it seeks a long-term solution.
Etihad said airberlin filing for administration was disappointing for all parties, especially as Etihad had provided extensive support for airberlin’s previous liquidity challenges and restructuring efforts over the past six years.
The Middle East carrier added: "However, airberlin's business has deteriorated at an unprecedented pace, preventing it from overcoming its significant challenges and from implementing alternative strategic solutions.”
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