Air Berlin (Berlin Tegel) told Reuters earlier on Thursday, October 26, that it hopes to complete a deal with either easyJet (London Luton) or Condor (DE, Frankfurt Int'l) by Friday, October 27. Having already agreed to transfer up to 81 aircraft to Lufthansa Group earlier this month, Air Berlin hopes to be able to place some of its remaining dry-leased Airbus narrowbody aircraft and flight/cabin crew with either the UK low-cost carrier or the Thomas Cook Group subsidiary.

While easyJet has previously commented that it is considering operating 25 ex-Air Berlin aircraft from Berlin Tegel, which it does not yet serve, Condor is only interested in approximately 10 aircraft according to a report by Berliner Zeitung earlier this week. These aircraft may potentially be transferred to the nascent Thomas Cook Airlines Balearics (Palma de Mallorca).

European Commissioner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager, has told Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that Lufthansa (LH, Frankfurt Int'l) would most likely have to transfer some routes and/or slots to other airlines to get clearance from the European Commission for its proposed transaction: "On some routes there are already is a very high market share or even a monopoly." Lufthansa is expected to apply for EC approval during the course of November.

As previously reported, Air Berlin will conclude own scheduled operations on October 27 with the last flight scheduled to be AB6210 from Munich to Berlin Tegel.

Meanwhile, ch-aviation has obtained exclusive details on operational plans for Eurowings (EW, Düsseldorf) and Niki (Austria) (Vienna) starting this weekend.

Thirteen A320-200s will continue to be operated for Eurowings (EW, Düsseldorf) by Air Berlin (Berlin Tegel) for the time being with four A320-200s each to be based at Hamburg Helmut Schmidt and Stuttgart Manfred Rommel and five A320-200s to be based at Cologne/Bonn airport. Air Berlin will, however, retire all of its A319-100s currently operating for Eurowings and also stop operating A320-200s on behalf of Austrian Airlines (OS, Vienna) effective immediately.

LGW - Luftfahrtgesellschaft Walter (Dortmund) will operate ten Dash 8-400s on a wet-lease basis for Eurowings out of Dusseldorf starting November 1 (eventually increasing to 17 aircraft) while Niki will wet-lease two A321-200s to Eurowings that will be operating out of Munich replacing Air Berlin aircraft currently operating from there for Lufthansa's low-cost carrier.

Belair Airlines (Zurich) will stop operating on October 28 with its four A321-200s being transferred to Niki.

The Austrian leisure carrier, to be acquired by Lufthansa (pending EC approval), will continue operations under its own flight numbers for the time being. Eurowings chief executive officer Thorsten Dirks has told Volksblatt in Vienna on Tuesday that he assumes Niki would be able to start operating under the Eurowings brand from early 2018 will all 870 employees being retained under their current collective labour agreement. For the time being, Air Berlin's administrator will ensure that enough financial resources are being made available to both Niki and LGW to continue operations.

All five B737-700s and one out of nine B737-800s wet-leased from TUI fly (Germany) (X3, Hanover) will leave Niki's fleet by November 5 alongside a B737-400 currently operated on its behalf by Slovak ACMI specialist Go2Sky (6G, Bratislava).

This winter season, Niki will deploy 14 A321-200s and eight TUI B737-800s, on flights operating out of Cologne/Bonn, Düsseldorf, Hamburg Helmut Schmidt, Munich, Vienna and Zurich with its own aircraft and out of Berlin Tegel, Cologne/Bonn, Frankfurt, Hanover, Nuremberg, Stuttgart using the TUI fly aircraft. As previously explained, the 15th and 16th Niki A321-200s will operate out of Munich for Eurowings.