EasyJet has signed an agreement to acquire part of Air Berlin in a move that could save 1,000 jobs at the bankrupt carrier.
The failed airline, which was Germany’s second-biggest and has some 8,000 employees, operated its last flight after 38 years on Friday, leaving its staff facing an uncertain future.
But easyJet announced a short time later that it had agreed to buy part of Air Berlin’s operations at Berlin Tegel Airport for 40 million euros (£35 million), and would be looking to employ 1,000 of Air Berlin’s pilots and cabin crew.
The deal would make easyJet, which already has a base at the smaller Schonefeld airport, the leading airline in the German capital, it said.
A spokesman said: “The acquisition will result in easyJet entering into leases for up to 25 A320 aircraft, offering employment to Air Berlin flying crews and taking over other assets including slots.
“EasyJet has launched a recruitment campaign to attract around 1,000 of Air Berlin’s pilots and cabin crew who will be recruited over the coming months and will then be trained on easyJet’s safety and operating procedures.”
EasyJet said it would announce its routes to and from Tegel in due course, and that it would run a reduced timetable at the airport during the winter before aiming for a complete summer schedule in 2018.
Lufthansa plans to take over more than half of the Air Berlin fleet, and take on 3,000 staff, but the deal has yet to win antitrust clearance.