Ryanair has launched complaints with competition authorities in Germany and the EU over Lufthansa’s involvement in the administration of Air Berlin.

Air Berlin announced on Tuesday (August 15) that it was entering insolvency while it was also revealed that the German government and Lufthansa would be working together to restructure the struggling airline.

But Ryanair called this move an “obvious conspiracy” between the German government, Lufthansa and Air Berlin to “carve up Air Berlin’s assets, while excluding major competitors and ignoring both EU competition and state aid rules”. It said this move should be blocked.

“This manufactured insolvency is clearly being set up to allow Lufthansa to take over a debt-free Air Berlin which will be in breach of all known German and EU competition rules,” said Ryanair in a statement.

“Given the fact that the German government is centrally involved in these manoeuvres, the Bundeskartellamt (Federal Cartel Office) is likely to struggle to get out of bed.

“On this basis, and bearing in mind the scale of the market shares and the European implications involved, it is all the more important that the European Commission takes immediate and decisive action.”

Ryanair also attacked the German government’s €150 million loan to Air Berlin which will allow the carrier to continue flying as normal and added that this would increase domestic airfares within Germany.

Rob Gill