Germany's second biggest airline, Air Berlin, filed for bankruptcy protection last week as a fierce battle gets under way over the rights to some prime take-off and landing slots.

However, Ryanair has cried foul over the whole process, calling it a conspiracy to favour airline, Lufthansa, which is understood to have been given first dibs on the assets.

Eoghan Corry, Editor of Travel Extra, said Air Berlin had been in a difficult spot for about a decade before it was given a lifeline from the Middle East.

"The tooth fairy came in the form of Etihad but then it started running out of money. It invested heavily in Al Italia and Air Berlin and it wanted to keep up funding, but it was clear by the middle of last week that they had run out money," he explained.

He described Germany as one of the heaviest defended countries when it came to the aviation sector for outsiders, along with France.

"Ryanair has been cranky about this issue as it sees it as covert state aid for the country's airlines. But this it sees as overt state aid. Lufthansa and the German government have got together to bolster the defences. 

"It's saying there's an opportunity that's not being administered to everyone evenly. There's a lot in the press calling on Lufthansa to be a champion of Germany."

Eoghan Corry said Ryanair was in a perfect position to gain from this situation.

"They've been looking at Germany for a long time. They've had a market share of around 3-4%, but managed to ratchet that up to 7-8% in the last year. This is 27% of the German market on a plate for whoever jumps in." 

He also said it would solve a major problem for Ryanair.

"They've 300 aircraft on order. Where will they go? If Germany present at this level it gives them that option. It also gives them an option for Brexit if they've to move aircraft out of the British market.

"Plus, Michael O'Leary wakes in the morning dreaming of upsetting Lufthansa, and this is an opportunity," he concluded.