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Yesterday, I flew from TXL and was quite surprised to see this during taxi:

enter image description here

It very much looks like people boarding an Air Berlin flight, an airline that supposedly does not exist any more. Local time was 12:20pm. What happened here? Did some subsidiary survive the bankruptcy? Did someone buy the brand rights? Did they just not find the time to rebrand all the sold planes (in almost a year)?

Edit:

Since requested in comments: I do have another shot further to the right. Zooming in seems to reveal that the registration number is D-ABKM (or D-ABKW?)

enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ Do you have another shot panned just a little bit to the right so we can see the plane's registration number? $\endgroup$ – kevin Sep 6 '18 at 6:28
  • $\begingroup$ It's just not repainted yet but thanks for this photo. I still have (useless now) Platinum One World membership card from Air Berlin. $\endgroup$ – ElmoVanKielmo Sep 6 '18 at 11:59
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Paintshops have been very busy in the past year. So getting a slot to repaint an airplane is not that easy. In addition, apart from the fact that the livery is not the one of the owner, the plane is perfectly fine. And while applying a new paint scheme the airplane is not earning money.

What airlines do is, repainting the planes when a longer technical check is due anyways.

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  • $\begingroup$ Is there anything in the past year which has made paint shops more busy than usual? $\endgroup$ – 0xdd Sep 6 '18 at 19:52
  • $\begingroup$ Repainting should happen during the regular big checks, but maybe extraordinarily extended checks and repaints for the former Air Berlin jets require more time (EasyJet, Lauda and Lufthansa). Lufthansa is also currently applying a new design to all jets, which will require several years. Even this design was redesigned, they made the deep blue a bit brighter. That shouldn’t cause extra work as said, because new paint is normal. magazin.lufthansa.com/de/de/aviation/im-neuen-kleid $\endgroup$ – Peter Sep 6 '18 at 20:22
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According to this page on Flightaware, the aircraft "D-ABKM" has been operating in and out of Berlin Tegel Airport (TXL) under the airline "Eurowings". We can therefore deduce that either Air Berlin sold the aircraft to Eurowings, or, sold it to an aircraft leasing company or simply terminated the lease and Eurowings leased the aircraft.

As for why it is still in Air Berlin livery, the other answer said it all - the operating airline considered it cheaper to fly it as it is than repainting it.

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  • $\begingroup$ Eurowings added a bunch of former airberlin routes as part of a "rapid expansion" to take advantage of airberlin's failure. It didn't go so great, with many delayed and cancelled flights. I suspect taking aircraft out of service unnecessarily for a paint job is something they're trying to avoid until their operation is fully stabilized. $\endgroup$ – Zach Lipton Sep 7 '18 at 7:31

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