Hans Rudolf Woehrl. Picture: REUTERS
Hans Rudolf Woehrl. Picture: REUTERS

Berlin — Lufthansa budget unit Eurowings has agreed to a deal with the Verdi union that will allow it to hire new cabin crew at short notice from rivals such as bankrupt Air Berlin.

Eurowings launched a recruitment drive in August, seeking about 200 pilots and 400 cabin crew qualified to fly and crew A320 aircraft.

Air Berlin also flies A320 aircraft and so the drive is a chance for staff to get hired without waiting for talks on a carve-up of the carrier to finish.

Eurowings, which did not mention Air Berlin staff specifically, said it had received more than 1,000 applications for the positions and had started conducting interviews.

On Wednesday, Eurowings planned to hold talks with pilot union Vereinigung Cockpit with the aim of being able to take on captains and first officers at short notice as well, it said.

The deal with Verdi comes after a similar agreement with union UFO, which also represents cabin crew.

Workers at Air Berlin, which employs more than 8,000 staff, are waiting to see how the airline will be divided up among interested parties, with a final decision expected by a creditors committee on September 25.

Verdi said on Wednesday it expected a large part of the workforce would not get new jobs as part of the sale process.

It said it and Air Berlin management had asked for the help of the federal government and three German states to set up a temporary employment company for those staff because Air Berlin could not bear the cost of such a scheme itself.

Lufthansa has made an offer for parts of the airline, with one source saying Germany’s largest carrier was interested in up to 90 aircraft, including Austrian holiday airline unit Niki’s fleet and 38 crewed aircraft it already leases from Air Berlin.

Industry investor Hans Rudolf Woehrl has offered to buy Air Berlin while Britain’s easyJet has made a bid for parts of its short-haul business.

Former Formula One champion Niki Lauda has bid with German airline Condor. Lauda has said he is interested in buying back Niki, an airline he set up in 2003.

German agency dpa-afx reported on Wednesday that IAG was interested in Niki. IAG declined to comment.

Reuters

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