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Lufthansa has bought a large chunk of Air Berlin
13 October 2017, 12:24 | Terri Saunders
Lufthansa CEO to sign Air Berlin deal today
As part of the deal Lufthansa will take over Air Berlin's low-priced leisure airline Niki, its LG Walter regional airline as well as 20 additional aircraft - bringing the total to around 80 planes.
The German flag carrier Lufthansa said it expected to sign an agreement on Thursday to buy parts of Air Berlin, a low-priced carrier that filed for insolvency this summer.
Lufthansa CEO Spohr told a German paper earlier that his airline would be investing around 1.5 billion euros in total as a result of the Air Berlin deal.
A Lufthansa spokesman declined to provide further details because the agreement had not yet been signed.
Lufthansa CEO Spohr said that he expected the imminent deal for Lufthansa with Air Berlin would receive necessary approval from the European Union before the end of 2017. Spohr said that adding 81 planes to the Lufthansa fleet was the maximum that competition watchdogs would accept.
Air Berlin said that it remains in negotiations with EasyJet and other bidders for other portions of its assets.
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"The European Commission will look very closely at this".
The budget Irish airline said it would take the €210m deal to European competition authorities.
Air Berlin triggered bankruptcy proceedings in August after losing a cash lifeline from its biggest shareholder Etihad Airways.
"We will support them", Andreas Mundt, head of Germany's federal competition authority, posted on Twitter.
German and worldwide investors and competitors lined up, with an eye not only on Air Berlin's aircraft but also coveted takeoff and landing slots at crowded airports. While the authorities investigate, Air Berlin will operate flights as a subcontractor, as insolvency rules forbid it from flying on its own account after October 28.
It had been in talks for weeks with Lufthansa and easyJet about selling parts of its business.
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