Ryanair has urged the German Bundeskartellamt and the EU Commission to halt the collusion between the German government, Lufthansa and Air Berlin to carve up Air Berlin’s assets, while excluding major competitors and ignoring both competition and State Aid rules, and called for urgent action to block this anti-consumer take-over.
This liquidation is being timed to allow Lufthansa to take over a debt-free Air Berlin, which will be in violation of all German and EU competition rules. This Lufthansa monopoly has been backed by the German government which has provided €150m of financial aid, so that Lufthansa can obtain Air Berlin, as its moves from a 68% share to a 95% monopoly, resulting in German customers and visitors potentially suffering from more expensive air fares.
“The German Bundeskartellamt and the European Commission must block the anti-consumer stitch-up playing out between the German Government, Lufthansa and Air Berlin. Given that the German Government is centrally involved in these maneuvers, the Bundeskartellamt will be afraid to impose competition rules. On this basis, it is vital that the European Commission takes immediate and decisive action to protect German consumers from a Lufthansa high fare monopoly,” said Ryanair Chief Michael O’Leary.
“Ryanair will continue to grow in Germany as more and more German customers choose our low fares and ‘Always Getting Better’ customer service over Lufthansa’s high fare monopoly,” O’Leary added.
Competitor airlines will have difficulties in getting slots in major airports such as Berlin, Hamburg, Frankfurt and Munich, where Lufthansa would control over 80% of peak time slots.
Ryanair also urged all Germans to vote “Yes” on September 24 to keep Tegel Airport operational. The new Brandenburg Airport will have a capacity of only 27 million passengers, which is far less than Dublin. With almost 33 million passengers already travelling through Berlin’s 2 existing Schonefeld and Tegel airports last year, the planned closure of Tegel will leave Berlin with less airport capacity than its existing traffic.