Lufthansa to swallow lion’s share of Air Berlin
BERLIN - Agence France-Presse
Years of struggle for Germany’s second-ranked airline Air Berlin appeared on their final stretch on Oct. 12, as airborne behemoth Lufthansa announced plans to buy more than half the bankrupt carrier’s planes.
The deal has sparked controversy in the European aviation sector, with the German government facing accusations it helped steer the process under a plan to build the Frankfurt-based carrier into an all-conquering juggernaut.
Meanwhile, negotiations with Easyjet -- the other bidder chosen for exclusive takeover talks -- “are continuing”, Air Berlin said, offering no information about what the British firm hopes to buy or whether any Air Berlin staff will keep their jobs.
Spohr has suggested Easyjet is interested in up to 30 aircraft.
Lufthansa has yet to say how much it will pay under the deal, but Spohr told newspaper Rheinische Post Thursday that the group would invest 1.5 billion euros ($1.8 billion) in its low-cost subsidiary Eurowings following the takeover.
He added that 80 planes was the largest addition to Lufthansa’s fleet that competition authorities would accept.
“The European Commission will look very closely at this. We will support them,” Andreas Mundt, head of Germany’s federal competition authority, posted on Twitter.
Many internal German routes will in future only offer a choice between Lufthansa and Eurowings.
But Spohr told business daily Handelsblatt Thursday that “we expect the competition authorities to examine the takeover at least from the point of view of European competition, not limit it to the German market alone.”