Air Berlin is expecting a difficult 2017, Chief Executive Thomas Winkelmann told its annual general meeting in London on Wednesday, but the airline is targetting positive earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) next year. Laura Frykberg reports.
It was far from an investor revolt. Instead, financially troubled Air Berlin appeasing shareholders at its AGM in London. Saying while 2017 will be a turbulent year, it's still on route to positive earnings. SOUNDBITE (German) DR MARCO EBERT, AIR BERLIN SHAREHOLDER SAYING: "I'm pleasantly surprised. We got information that lets us look ahead happily, and ideas to secure the future of our airline." And it can't come soon enough for Germany's second largest carrier. Last year it made a net record loss of more than 780 million euros. As it struggles to compete against low cost airlines. Now it's asking the German government to back its lending to keep it airborne. A request Berlin is considering. SOUNDBITE (English) LAURA FRYKBERG, REUTERS, SAYING: "Details of any potential deal are confidential - and Air Berlin has refused to discuss it with us on camera. Perhaps a sign of the nervousness of the future of the company." The carrier's request for help comes amid waning support by Etihad. Which has an almost 30 percent stake in it. It's already bailed the company out several times before. This time though, help hinges on political appetite - and with 8,000 jobs on the line, they could well get it.