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Air Berlin scraps more long-haul flights

Reuters

German carrier Air Berlin aircraft at Tegel airport in Berlin on Sept. 4

ReutersBERLIN (Reuters) — Insolvent German airline Air Berlin is scrapping more long-haul flights, this time to the Caribbean from Duesseldorf, because it needs to reduce the fleet due to preliminary insolvency proceedings, it said on Monday.

Air Berlin, Germany’s second-largest airline, was forced to file for bankruptcy protection last month after shareholder Etihad Airways withdrew funding following years of losses.

Its planes are being kept in the air thanks to a €150 million ($180 million) government bridging loan, which will last until the middle of November at the latest.

Industry sources said the routes were being cut after a leasing company asked for the A330 planes that fly the long-haul routes to be returned.

Ireland-based lessor Avolon declined to comment when asked about the status of its planes with Air Berlin. Avolon leases 10 Airbus aircraft to Air Berlin, another source said.

Routes from Duesseldorf to destinations such as Mexico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic and the Antilles will end from Sept. 25, Air Berlin said. It is also bringing forward the cancellation of other long-haul services, including from Berlin to Los Angeles and San Francisco, and from Duesseldorf to Boston.

Bidders are lining up to buy the airline’s assets, with Lufthansa seen in pole position to acquire large parts of its rival.

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