Insolvencies and Restructurings

PwC Legal represents Air Berlin’s insolvency administrator in legal challenge of Icelandic airport operator ISAVIA

BerlinOctober 2nd 2019

PricewaterhouseCoopers Legal AG Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft (PwC Legal) is advising the insolvency administrator of Air Berlin PLC & Co. Luftverkehrs KG (Air Berlin), Prof. Lucas F. Flöther, as counsel in a legal challenge mounted against Icelandic airport operator ISAVIA.

ISAVIA seized an Air Berlin aeroplane at Reykjavik Airport in October 2017 despite its having paid customs clearance changes in advance. The airport operator did so to prevent the plane from taking off until sums owed from the period prior to Air Berlin’s insolvency application were settled or appropriate collateral was provided.

Seizure of the plane would have resulted in considerable financial damages for Air Berlin. In order to prevent this, the airline decided to pay the sum demanded, reserving the right to contest the transaction in insolvency proceedings. ISAVIA then allowed the aircraft to leave.

In December 2017 the airline’s insolvency administrator, Lucas Flöther, contested the payment to ISAVIA. The airport operator rejected the challenge on the grounds that German law was not applicable. Flöther then filed proceedings for recognition by Icelandic courts that German insolvency proceedings had legal effect in Iceland.

On August 20th 2019, Reykjavik District Court ruled that German insolvency law is applicable in Iceland. PwC Legal has now mounted a legal challenge against ISAVIA at the Berlin State Court (Landgericht Berlin), representing the insolvency administrator.

Air Berlin filed for insolvency in August 2017. At the time, it was Germany’s second-largest airline company.

Representatives of the insolvency administrator

PwC Legal (Hamburg/Berlin):

Christian Abel (team lead), Britta Pancek (both restructuring and insolvency law), Dr Martin Beckmann (litigation)

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