Lufthansa to buy assets of insolvent AirBerlin
Lufthansa is poised to agree a deal to buy assets of Air Berlin, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters ahead of a deadline today for talks to carve up the insolvent German airline.
"The deal with Lufthansa is done, there is agreement," the person said yesterday, adding that talks with low-cost carrier EasyJet were not yet completed.
Ryanair looked at a potential bid for Air Berlin, having originally described the insolvency process as "a stitch-up" to deliver the German airline's assets to domestic rival Lufthansa.
Air Berlin, which has struggled to turn a profit over the last decade, filed for insolvency on August 15.
A German government loan has kept its planes in the air while it negotiates with potential buyers over parts of its business.
It said late last month that negotiations with Lufthansa and Britain's EasyJet would continue until October 12.
The person familiar with the matter said Lufthansa was set to buy Air Berlin's Niki leisure unit, its LG Walter regional airline and some additional aircraft.
Lufthansa declined to comment on the matter but said it was confident it would meet the deadline for negotiations.
EasyJet had no immediate comment.
Since Air Berlin's insolvency, UK-based Monarch has also gone into insolvency. It ceased trading suddenly last week, leaving about 100,000 UK tourists stranded across Europe until they were flown home by British authorities at an estimated cost of £60m. (Reuters)