Lufthansa to acquire majority of insolvent Air Berlin

Frankfurt-based Lufthansa will sign a contract to buy 81 of Air Berlin’s 144 planes and take on 3,000 of its 8,500 staff

Frankfurt-based Lufthansa will sign a contract to buy 81 of Air Berlin’s 144 planes and take on 3,000 of its 8,500 staff

German airline group Deutsche Lufthansa AG (DLAKF, DLAKY) will sign a deal on Thursday to buy parts of insolvent rival Air Berlin, reports said, citing Lufthansa's chief executive Carsten Spohr.

Lufthansa has agreed to take over a large part of Air Berlin, which went bankrupt a couple months back after years of mounting losses and the withdrawal of support from Abu Dhabi-based Etihad, its key shareholder and creditor.

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The head of German carrier Lufthansa on Thursday announced that his company was set to take a majority stake in failed airline Air Berlin, which filed for insolvency earlier and was temporarily being kept afloat by a bridging loan from the German government.

Spohr told the Rheinischen Post he did not believe Lufthansa's deal with Air Berlin would result in higher airfares.

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However, Air Berlin chief executive Thomas Winkelmann said last week the agreement would need a green light from European authorities in a process that might take "several weeks or months".

Germany's largest airline is expected to buy Air Berlin's Niki subsidiary, its LG Walter regional airline as well as some aircraft. The big question now is what will come out of the EasyJet talks-an Air Berlin spokesperson declined to comment on Thursday morning, suggesting a statement would come out later in the day, while EasyJet also refused to comment on the "ongoing discussions". It made a loss of about 782 million euros a year ago. The airline carried some 80,000 people a day mostly on short-haul destinations.

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