Lufthansa Spreads Wings by Snapping Up Parts of Failed Air Berlin

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Lufthansa reinforced its position as Germany’s largest airline on Thursday by signing a 210 million euro ($249 million) deal to buy large parts of insolvent Air Berlin, Reuters reported. Lufthansa plans to use the Air Berlin assets to quickly expand its Eurowings budget business. News of the deal pushed Lufthansa shares up more than 3 percent to their highest level in nearly 17 years. Air Berlin, which has struggled to turn a profit over the last decade, filed for insolvency on Aug. 15, and a government loan has kept its planes aloft while its administrator negotiated with prospective buyers for parts of the business. Lufthansa has agreed to acquire Air Berlin’s Austrian leisure travel airline Niki, its LG Walter regional airline and 20 additional aircraft, Air Berlin said in a statement. “This contract provides new opportunities for jobs for a large part of our workforce. But we can only really breathe again when the EU Commission approves the deal,” Air Berlin Chief Executive Thomas Winkelmann said. Read more.