Lufthansa Set To Sign Air Berlin Deal, easyJet Still In Talks

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Photo Lufthansa, Germany's largest airline, said it expected to take over 81 planes from Air Berlin, a low-priced carrier that filed for insolvency this summer.

Air Berlin, which employs around 8,000 people, filed for bankruptcy in August after its funding was cut off by Etihad, one of its major shareholders.

Lufthansa will sign a deal on Thursday to buy parts of its insolvent smaller German rival Air Berlin, Lufthansa's chief executive Carsten Spohr said.

Spohr said, "Today is a big day, which we will seal in a few hours with a signature".

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According to Reuters, Lufthansa will acquire Air Berlin's subsidiaries Niki and LG Walter, as well access to take-off and landing slots at Air Berlin's hubs at Berlin's Tegel airport and at Duesseldorf airport.

Lufthansa declined to say whether it was set to sign a deal, saying only it was confident it would meet the deadline for negotiations.

Air Berlin, Germany's second largest carrier, will cease operating flights this month, capping a turbulent summer for European carriers.

Investors also appeared pleased with news of the proposed deal, as shares in Lufthansa traded 3% higher by lunchtime on Thursday. He said he was "stunned" by suggestions the co-pilot deliberately crashed the plane.

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Air Berlin said last month that negotiations with Lufthansa and Britain's easyJet PLC would continue until October 12.

Meanwhile German family-owned logistics firm Zeitfracht said it had made a new offer for Air Berlin's cargo marketing platform and its maintenance business with a partner.

However, that did not prevent it from reporting a record loss of €782m (£713m) in the last financial year. It also announced it would be reducing the number of destinations it flies to from 140 to 70.

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