Published: Thu, October 12, 2017
Business | By Max Garcia

Lufthansa to sign deal with bankrupt Air Berlin

Lufthansa to sign deal with bankrupt Air Berlin

Lufthansa Chairman and CEO Carsten Spohr said the giant would sign the deal, which would mean the acquisition of parts of Air Berlin, including 81 aircraft and 3,000 employees, for a price tag of 1.5 billion euros ($1.78 billion), Efe news reported.

"Today is a big day, which we will seal in a few hours with a signature", he said.

Earlier this month, a source had said Lufthansa could take on as many as 90 of Air Berlin's roughly 140 leased planes, including 38 aircraft it is already leasing from Air Berlin and its leisure airline Niki.

After Air Berlin filed for bankruptcy, the German government gave the airline a 150 million euro government loan to stay afloat while it was negotiating possible deals with Lufthansa and others.

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".

The operations up for grabs also include access to take-off and landing slots at Air Berlin's hubs in Tegel in the German capital and Duesseldorf.

easyJet reportedly has been discussing acquiring 27 to 30 planes.

Analysts at Bernstein Research raised their rating on Lufthansa's shares to "outperform" from "market-perform", saying they expected a deal with Air Berlin to add around €70 to €90m to annual operating profits at Lufthansa's budget unit Eurowings in the medium term.

Meanwhile German family-owned logistics firm Zeitfracht said it had made a new offer for Air Berlin's cargo marketing platform and its maintenance business with a partner.

Air Berlin had been Germany's second-biggest carrier after Lufthansa.

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