EasyJet, International Airlines Group and Thomas Cook German carrier Condor joined Lufthansa in submitting formal bids for Air Berlin this week, with the winner due to be announced next week.
Air Berlin administrators were due to decide on the favoured bid today, with the airline’s supervisory board to meet on Monday to confirm the outcome.
Lufthansa is expected to succeed in acquiring most of the failed carrier.
Air Berlin went into bankruptcy protection in August after major shareholder Etihad withdrew financial support. The German carrier had been losing money for years.
Lufthansa has been in tripartite talks with Air Berlin and the German government and already operates 38 Air Berlin aircraft under a leasing arrangement.
Carsten Spohr, Lufthansa Group chief executive, confirmed this week that he had tabled a bid for up to 78 Air Berlin aircraft, including the 38 Lufthansa already operates, and would guarantee up to 3,000 of the 8,000 jobs at the failed carrier.
However, Spohr said he was not interested in Air Berlin’s long-haul fleet.
None of the rival airline bids are believed to be for more than part of Air Berlin. However, two German entrepreneurs are reported to have submitted a bid for the carrier as a whole.
The German government defended its provision of €150 million in credit to Air Berlin ahead of the German Federal election on Sunday.
Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary has led criticism of the government’s involvement, with O’Leary declaring the process “a stitch up”.
The Irish carrier has submitted complaints to both the German cartel office and the European Commission.
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