Lufthansa to announce Air Berlin deal

Lufthansa may pay about 6 million for around 80 planes of Air Berlin. File

German airline Air Berlin filed for bankruptcy on August 15 after its main shareholder, Etihad, said it would not give further financial support.

Lufthansa will sign a deal today to buy parts of insolvent German carrier Air Berlin, Lufthansa chief executive Carsten Spohr said.

Spohr told the Rheinischen Post he did not believe Lufthansa's deal with Air Berlin would result in higher airfares.

Although Air Berlin and Lufthansa's existing low-priced airline, Eurowings, are the only carriers serving routes such as those between Munich and Cologne, Spohr said the combined operation would not boost prices as competition in Europe is set to "intensify".

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Easyjet is negotiating with Air Berlin to possibly acquire the remaining 20 to 30 aircraft from the carrier, which previous year ran up a loss of about 782 million euros and has debts totaling almost 1.2 billion euros.

"We will see a milestone in the history of Lufthansa and Air Berlin", Spohr said.

It had been in talks for weeks with Lufthansa and easyJet about selling parts of its business.

Germany's largest airline is expected to buy Air Berlin's Niki subsidiary, its LG Walter regional airline as well as some aircraft.

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