EU greenlights state aid to Germany's Air Berlin

BRUSSELS — European Union anti-trust regulators have approved Germany's plan to provide troubled low-cost carrier Air Berlin with a 150-million-euro ($179-million) loan.

The European Commission, which polices EU state aid rules, said Monday that the loan "will allow for the orderly wind-down of the insolvent airline Air Berlin without unduly distorting competition."

The Commission also said the move would help protect the interests of air travelers.

Air Berlin, Germany's second-largest carrier, said last month that it was filing for bankruptcy after its main shareholder, Abu Dhabi-based Etihad, decided to cut its financing.

To allay travelers' fears they might be stranded on summer holiday, the government announced that it would provide a loan so the airline could continue flights for the time being.

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