Chutzpah! Air Berlin is Suing Etihad For Allowing It to Go Bankrupt

The old definition of chutzpah used to be killing your parents and asking for mercy because you’re an orphan. Now it’s just going to be air berlin.

That’s because air berlin is seeking damages from Etihad for not pouring more money into the sinkhole.

German airline Air Berlin (AB1.DE) is demanding damages from its part-owner Etihad Airways for letting it become insolvent and it hopes for payment of at least 10 million euros (£8.94 million), Air Berlin’s administrator told a German newspaper.

(Emphasis mine.)

Air Berlin at New York JFK on September 29

air berlin has lost a couple billion dollars since Etihad increased its stake from 3% to 29% in 2011. Etihad infused the airline with cash not just with the equity investment but by overpaying for the spinoff of air berlin’s topbonus frequent flyer program and additional infusions. There’s been little prospect of turning around losses, which have actually widened.

Indeed the German government extended additional cash for the airline’s bankruptcy which there’s only a “likelihood” of being repaid through asset sales. Airline bondholders, on the other hand, will not be repaid and equity investors will get nothing.

The airline has flown for years only because Etihad was willing to light money on fire. The airline now believes they are owed money for Etihad’s unwillingness to continue to light money on fire.

All that money, at least we get to re-watch the crazy go-around on arrival of the final air berlin transatlantic flight.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. The reuter’s article from your link is funny. I don’t see ‘demanding’ can be settled by ‘negotiation’. If you demand something, and the other didn’t yield, you do something to hurt, in other words, threat. Negotiation means begging for mercy…

  2. Actually, the insolvency administrators are just doing their job, has nothing to do with chutzpah: Etihad gave written guarantees for funding through next year, which air berlin (and their business partners, government, etc) build their business decisions. By reneging on their guarantees, Etihad did contribute to the sudden collapse or airberlin. The fact that they are negotiating the amount suggest that the administrators have a case and are doing their job to get as much money into the insolvency volume as they can – which will pay for the government, anybody who bought a ticket after Aug15, etc…

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