Air Berlin Q1 Loss Smaller Than Expected

Air Berlin posted a slightly smaller than expected first-quarter operating loss as it managed to improve profitability despite a slump in demand for air travel.

The first-quarter operating loss before interest and tax widened to EUR87.3 million euros (USD$122 million) from EUR68.6 million, Germany's second-biggest airline after Lufthansa said late Tuesday.

Revenues rose 1.2 percent to EUR661.2 million in the quarter.

Earlier this year, Turkey's Sabanci family struck a deal to buy a 15.3 percent stake in Air Berlin, scooping up part of the stake formerly held by US billionaire Len Blavatnik.

At the same time, TUI Travel said it would buy new shares in Air Berlin, giving it a 19.9 percent stake in the airline, in a cross-shareholding agreement.

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