Merkel says unlikely German taxpayers will fund Air Berlin rescue

BERLIN (Reuters) - German taxpayers will very likely not have to pay for a rescue of Air Berlin (AB1.DE), Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday, a day after Germany’s second-largest airline filed for bankruptcy protection.

Berlin has granted a bridging loan of 150 million euros ($175.68 million) to allow Air Berlin to keep its planes in the air for three months and secure the jobs of its 7,200 workers in Germany while negotiations continue.

Asked in a YouTube interview how big the risk is that taxpayers would pay for a rescue, Merkel replied: “That is quite low otherwise we would not have been allowed to grant this bridge loan ... We can say that in all likelihood the taxpayer will not have to pay for that.”

Writing by Paul Carrel; Editing by Madeline Chambers

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