Lufthansa to buy large parts of bankrupt Air Berlin


Lufthansa plans to use the Air Berlin assets to quickly expand its Eurowings budget business.

"The negotiations are still underway with easyjet", Air Berlin said in a special sales meeting with Lufthansa and British airline EasyJet since 25 September 2017.

Ryanair is set to challenge a Lufthansa deal to to buy parts of failed German carrier Air Berlin.

Lufthansa will purchase Air Berlin subsidiary Niki, a low-priced airline based in Austria, as well as Air Berlin's regional subsidiary Walter, which now flies under the Air Berlin brand. He expects the deal to get European Union approval by the end of the year. "But we can only really breathe again when the EU Commission approves the deal", Air Berlin Chief Executive Thomas Winkelmann said.

Britain's easyJet has a base in Schoenefeld airport in Berlin and has been negotiating the acquisition of between 27 and 30 aircraft, though one report earlier in the week said those talks might fail.

Lufthansa has yet to say how much it will pay under the deal, but Spohr told newspaper Rheinische Post today that the group would invest 1.5 billion euros (USD 1.8 billion) in its low-priced subsidiary Eurowings following the takeover.

That sum includes investment in new planes, for which the board freed up 1 billion euros of funds last month, the purchase price and the costs of taking on new staff. 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.

Italy's national airline Alitalia is in administration and seeking investors too, British leisure airline Monarch collapsed at the start of this month.

Spohr rebuffed the accusation that Lufthansa was becoming a "threatening monopoly", pointing out that the airlines global market share was just 3% globally, and 14% in Europe.