Frankfurt-based Lufthansa will sign a contract to buy 81 of Air Berlin’s 144 planes and take on 3,000 of its 8,500 staff
12 October, 2017, 14:51
Insolvent German airline Air Berlin (AB1.DE) is continuing talks with easyJet (EZJ.L) on Thursday, a spokesman for Air Berlin said, without saying whether a contract was expected to be signed with the British airline.
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.
While it conducted the negotiations, Air Berlin's planes were kept in the air by a government loan of 150 million euros. The deal comes only a day after Lufthansa pilots ended a dispute over pay and conditions stretching back over a year, which had involved repeated strike action and the loss of customer confidence.
Air Berlin has since late September been negotiating exclusively with Lufthansa and United Kingdom -based low-priced rival EasyJet.
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.
EasyJet said it would not comment on ongoing discussions and would provide a further update in due course if necessary.
Air Berlin's long-haul flights will cease at the end of this week, and tickets for all flights from the end of this month will be invalid.