Lufthansa to swallow lion’s share of Air Berlin
YEARS of struggle for Germany’s second-ranked airline Air Berlin appeared close to an end yesterday, 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 that it helped steer the process under a plan to build the Frankfurt-based carrier into an all-conquering juggernaut.
Germany’s largest airline will snap up some 81 of Air Berlin’s 144 aircraft and take on 3,000 of its 8,500 staff, Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr said in Berlin, hailing it as a “great day” for his company.
Spohr said that Easyjet was interested in between 20 and 30 of Air Berlin’s mediumrange aircraft.
Lufthansa has yet to say how much it will pay under the deal, but Spohr told newspaper Rheinische Post yesterday that the group would invest € 1.5 billion ($1.8 billion) related to the takeover.