Lufthansa is interested in acquiring as many as 80 planes from rival Air Berlin with its priority on securing planes it already leases, the group’s chief executive said.
A creditor committee meets on Thursday afternoon to discuss offers for Air Berlin, which filed for insolvency in August after major shareholder Etihad pulled the plug on funding.
Lufthansa is competing with several other airlines for parts of Air Berlin, including easyJet and Thomas Cook’s Condor, with bidders especially interested in its Niki short-haul business that flies from Germany and Austria to holiday hotspots in Europe.
Lufthansa’s focus is on securing the 38 crewed planes it currently leases from the insolvent carrier, plus it would like up to an additional 20 to 40 planes, Carsten Spohr said at a media event late on Wednesday.
Spohr said Lufthansa expected that was the most it could take without falling foul of anti-trust concerns and if it isn’t able to get all that it has bid for, it still plans to grow.
“The next few days will show whether that growth comes organically via Eurowings or through an Air Berlin transaction,” he said, adding that Lufthansa would need around 3,000 new employees to meet that expansion.
The 38 crewed planes Lufthansa leases from Air Berlin currently carry passengers mainly for the group’s budget unit Eurowings, and Lufthansa’s priority is on keeping that operation stable…Fuente: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-air-berlin-lufthansa-ceo/lufthansa-ceos-focus-is-on-38-leased-planes-in-air-berlin-battle-idUSKCN1BW29G