Air Berlin must come up with turnaround plan before loan guarantees: Zypries

Passengers board a German carrier Air Berlin aircraft at Tegel airport in Berlin, Germany, June 14, 2017. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

BERLIN (Reuters) - Loss-making Air Berlin AB1.DE must come up with a clear turnaround plan before the German government can decide on the airline's request for loan guarantees, Economy Minister Brigitte Zypries told Reuters in an interview on Friday.

The economy ministry said this week it was looking into a request for guarantees that Air Berlin had made with the states of Berlin and North Rhine-Westphalia and Air Berlin CEO Thomas Winkelmann declined to put a figure on the size of the aid.

“There is a request for guarantees which we are looking into,” Zypries said, adding that a decision depends on the submission of a clear recovery program for the airline. “We are waiting for the company to make its position clear.”

The German carrier, 29 percent-owned by Abu Dhabi-based carrier Etihad, last week asked Berlin and North-Rhine Westphalia (NRW) to consider loan guarantees and Zypries has said the company was in a precarious situation.

Zypries told Reuters that she was not personally involved in negotiations on Air Berlin’s request for loan guarantees, adding that one of her deputies had been in contact with the carrier.

Reporting by Michael Nienaber and Gernot Heller; Writing by Joseph Nasr; Editing by Paul Carrel