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1ST LEAD Lufthansa in talks to purchase large chunk of Air Berlin By Burkhard Fraune, dpa

Europe
21.09.2017
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Berlin (dpa) - Germany‘s flagship carrier Lufthansa is in talks with Air Berlin creditors to buy a large part of the insolvent airline, sources tell dpa.

Lufthansa is considering a takeover of Air Berlin‘s subsidiary airline Niki as part of bids to carve up the bankrupt company, according to people involved in the negotiating process.

Air Berlin is in talks with Easyjet over the sale of the remaining assets, the sources said, with Condor also thought to be a prospective buyer.

Germany‘s second-biggest airline filed for insolvency last month after its main shareholder, Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways, withdrew financial aid for the loss-making carrier.

The German government was forced to provide the airline with a bridging loan of 150 million euros (179 million dollars), which runs out on Friday.

Air Berlin has operated at a loss every year since 2008, except for 2012, when it sold off its frequent flyer programme.

Company representatives spent all of Thursday at the negotiating table. The talks to sell off parts of the company are expected to continue until October 12.

On Wednesday evening, Lufthansa chief executive Carsten Spohr announced that his airline was aiming to purchase 38 aircrafts that it already has on lease from Air Berlin, while also expressing an interest in buying another 30 to 40 planes. If accepted, the deal would see Lufthansa assume half of Air Berlin‘s fleet.

It is unclear which parts of the company the other parties are vying for. British airline Easyjet had expressed an interest in the company‘s short- and medium-haul flights.

Thomas Cook Group‘s Condor had previously met with Niki Lauda, the Austrian Formula 1 driver that founded Niki, an airline operating popular holiday routes from Austria and more recently Germany.

Other offers at the creditors‘ committee on Thursday came from British Airways and Iberia parent company IAG (International Airlines Group), among others.

 

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