Air Berlin was once the number one airline in Palma. | Patricia Lozano


Lufthansa, which as expected arrived at an agreement last week to acquire a major part of Air Berlin, will retain 3,000 of the total 8,000 workforce, but these will not include the 54 remaining employees in Palma. Staff numbers in Majorca had already been reduced significantly following the closure of the hub operation at Palma. Regional employment minister, Iago Negueruela, said yesterday that he would like as many jobs as possible to be kept, but his hope seems somewhat forlorn.

The purchase agreement means that Lufthansa has also taken on Niki, the regional airline LGW and twenty other aircraft. Niki has in effect been operating Air Berlin flights to Palma during the summer season. The value of the deal is said to be around 200 million euros. EasyJet may still yet acquire up to thirty per cent of Air Berlin planes.

Ryanair, which from the very outset expressed competition concerns if Lufthansa took over Air Berlin, is considering taking the matter to the European Commission.

Willie Walsh of IAG, which includes British Airways and Iberia, has said that the deal raises "major competition concerns". Meanwhile, IAG is understood to be looking at taking on some Monarch Airlines take-off and landing slots at Gatwick.