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Numerous passengers with expired airline tickets from the insolvent Air Berlin can no longer count on a refund. This became clear at a creditors' meeting in Berlin on Wednesday.

Numerous passengers with expired airline tickets from the insolvent Air Berlin can no longer count on a refund. This became clear at a creditors' meeting in Berlin on Wednesday.

A spokesman for insolvency administrator Lucas Flöther said the company was not even able to fully repay a loan that the federal government had used to keep the airline in the air after filing for bankruptcy. Of the 150 million euros, at least 75 million euros are expected to be repaid, the spokesman said. "That is a cautious forecast."

Air Berlin is in the chalk with suppliers, service providers, landlords, leasing partners and also with the employment agency, which had secured wages and salaries for employees for a quarter of a year after filing for insolvency. She demands 46.3 million euros, the tax authorities 75 million euros, as WDR, NDR and "Süddeutsche Zeitung" have learned.

The airline's realizable assets are therefore 88 million euros. Air Berlin did not comment on the numbers on Wednesday. According to participants in the creditors' meeting, those responsible are still considering whether they can demand money from the major shareholder Etihad. The Arab airline had kept the chronically deficit Air Berlin in the air for years.

The former Lufthansa rival filed for bankruptcy on August 15. Anyone who booked before this day is likely to go away empty-handed, because the claim from the bankruptcy estate will be served. According to earlier information from the airline, around 100,000 tickets are affected. Claims can still be submitted until February 1, Flöther expects a total amount of more than one billion euros.

At the creditors' meeting of Air Berlin PLC & Co. Luftverkehrs KG, according to the participants, there was talk of a current level of 760 million euros - plus the federal loan of 150 million euros, which must be served as a bulk loan. So far, around 61 million euros have been repaid.

According to the responsible Berlin district court in Charlottenburg, it can take up to ten years for all claims to be processed. Air Berlin's chief representative Frank Kebekus is now leaving the company because the self-administration has ended, during which the previous management continued to steer the fortunes of the company. Flöther, until now the creditor trustee, is now the insolvency administrator.

Large parts of Air Berlin had been sold to Lufthansa and Easyjet. According to the decision of the creditors in Austria, the daughter Niki with around 1000 employees should go back to the former racing driver Niki Lauda. Previously, Niki had been promised first to Lufthansa, then to the British IAG group.

Lauda campaigned for the workforce and for a fresh start on Wednesday. At a staff meeting, he assured the employees that they would have regular employment contracts. He ruled out a temporary work structure like in the times when Lauda was the head of the airline.

Lauda wants to establish the airline under the name Laudamotion on the holiday airline market with 15 planes from the end of March. Niki works council chairman Stefan Tankovits said of the mood among the Niki team: "Skeptical is best."

The legal hurdles of the business seem to have been overcome. The German insolvency administrator has applied for secondary insolvency proceedings, as confirmed by the Charlottenburg district court. In addition, his complaint to the Federal Court of Justice, which was intended to prevent the main insolvency proceedings from being relocated to Austria, was withdrawn. Although he still believes that he is right. “But being righteous is no use,” said Flöther.

In a second round of bids, Lauda was surprisingly awarded Niki by the Austrian creditors' committee. From the perspective of the auditing company PwC, he is entering a particularly harsh environment. The reorganization after the bankruptcies of the British monarch and the German Air Berlin could be the beginning of a wave of consolidation, writes PwC in a study. However, the negotiations surrounding the Niki takeover showed that the European antitrust and regulatory authorities were paying close attention.

(dpa)