EU clears Lufthansa takeover deal for Air Berlin's LGW
The European Commission has cleared a deal by Lufthansa to buy insolvent Air Berlin's subsidiary LGW, after it agreed to give up some runway slots.
Lufthansa had originally planned to buy LGW along with another Air Berlin airline, Niki, but dropped its bid for Niki after the Commission indicated it would block the purchase.
As part of the deal, some Air Berlin aircraft, crew and slots at several airports were transferred to LGW. Lufthansa agreed to forego a number of slots at Dusseldorf airport to ease the Commission's competition concerns.
"Lufthansa has put forward improved remedies that make sure the effects of its LGW acquisition on competition are limited," said Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager in a statement.
Lufthansa will take on 33 aircraft, 20 Bombardier turboprops and 13 Airbus A320 aircraft, for its Eurowings unit, it said, plus all LGW staff on their current contracts.
"Eurowings will continue to be a growth engine in 2018," said CEO Thorsten Dirks.
The European airline industry has this year witnessed the demise of Monarch and Air Berlin, while Italy's Alitalia has filed for insolvency protection.
A process to find another bidder for Niki is ongoing. Former racing car driver Niki Lauda, who founded the airline in 2003, has made a bid. (Reuters)