Lufthansa CEO says to sign Air Berlin deal today

Lufthansa CEO says to sign Air Berlin deal today

The German news agency dpa is reporting that Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr says the airline will sign an agreement to buy large parts of the bankrupt carrier Air Berlin.

Analysts at Bernstein Research raised their rating on Lufthansa's shares to "outperform" from "market-perform", saying they expected a deal with Air Berlin to add around 70 to 90 million euros to annual operating profits at Lufthansa's budget unit Eurowings in the medium term.

Spohr said, "We will see a milestone in the history of Lufthansa and Berlin today". The company continued its operations through a government loan, while its administrator was negotiating with prospective buyers for parts of its business, the reports noted. He said he was "stunned" by suggestions the co-pilot deliberately crashed the plane.

However, Air Berlin chief executive Thomas Winkelmann said last week the agreement would need a green light from European authorities in a process that might take "several weeks or months".

EasyJet said it would not comment on ongoing discussions and would provide a further update in due course if necessary.

Air Berlin had been Germany's second-biggest carrier after Lufthansa.

Italian flag carrier Alitalia is in administration and seeking investors too, British leisure airline Monarch collapsed at the start of this month, stranding thousands overseas, and low cost Ryanair has cancelled thousands of flights after a pilot rostering mess-up.

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