The European Commission has confirmed the receipt of a formal complaint lodged by airline Ryanair against Air Berlin. As Laura Frykberg reports, the budget airline is concerned Air Berlin is being prepared for a take-over by Lufthansa, which Ryanair believes would breach competition rules.
It's only a day since it filed for insolvency. But already there's a row involving the airlines circling in on Air Berlin. Lufthansa's bid to take over parts of the business from its smaller rival has got Ryanair raising a red flag. Lodging an anti-competitive complaint with the European Commission. (SOUNDBITE) (English) EUROPEAN COMMISSION COMPETITION SPOKESPERSON, RICARDO CARDOSA, SAYING: "At this stage I don't think we are taking about a violation, what we're talking about is Germany has notified to the Commission aid to Air Berlin, and so we can confirm this notification, and now the Commission will assess it." The German Transport Minister says there's no problem because Air Berlin will be sold off in stages. An answer, some German analysts say, will fly with the authorities. (SOUNDBITE) (German) CAPITAL MARKETS SPECIALIST AT ODDO SEYDLER BANK, OLIVER ROTH, SAYING: "I do not believe that Ryanair will be successful with their protest, because it is legitimate for a federal government to give guarantees, for example, to keep an airline operational, at least for a certain time." And that is what the German government has done... Granting Air Berlin a bridging loan of 150 million euros, so it can stay operational for next three months... And secure more than 7000 jobs. It says it's expecting a decision from the Lufthansa negotiations in the coming weeks.