* Comments come as government studies possible loan
* Air Berlin won't comment on Die Welt report of loan size
* Airline scrambling to protect its roughly 8,000 jobs in
(Adds report from Die Welt newspaper, background)
LUDWIGSHAFEN, Germany, June 13 Air Berlin
is in a "precarious" situation, German Economics
Minister Brigitte Zypries said on Tuesday, as the loss-making
airline seeks loan guarantees from regional states.
Air Berlin, in which Gulf carrier Etihad Airways has an
almost 30 percent stake, said last week it had asked Berlin and
North-Rhine Westphalia (NRW) to consider loan guarantees.
The German federal government said on Friday any support
would be contingent on the airline showing it had a sustainable
"The situation of Air Berlin is precarious," Zypries said at
a technology conference in the southern German town of
Ludwigshafen. "Otherwise, a request for a state loan guarantee
wouldn't have been made."
Air Berlin was seeking a loan guarantee ranging from a
"two-digit million euro amount to a low three-digit million euro
amount", Germany's newspaper Die Welt reported on Tuesday,
citing unnamed sources.
A spokesman for Air Berlin declined to comment.
Air Berlin, whose losses increased to a record 782 million
euros ($877 million) in 2016, is scrambling to protect roughly
8,000 jobs in Germany, mainly based in Berlin and NRW.
The German carrier's request for state help comes amid signs
of waning support from Etihad.
(Reporting by Peter Maushagen; Writing by Tom Sims; Editing by
Harro ten Wolde and Edmund Blair)