Lufthansa Is Taking Over Most of Air Berlin

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Lufthansa and Air Berlin are to sign a contract later on Thursday to acquire sections of the embattled carrier, which filed for insolvency in August after its main shareholder, Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways, halted financial aid for the group.

Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr said Thursday that the airline will sign an agreement to buy large parts of the bankrupt carrier Air Berlin, the German news agency dpa reported.

Spohr said, "We will see a milestone in the history of Lufthansa and Berlin today".

Mr. Spohr said that he expects that it will take up to one year for Lufthansa to fully integrate Air Berlin's aircraft and teams.

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It said late last month that negotiations with Lufthansa and Britain's easyJet would continue until October 12.

The deal will leave Lufthansa, a traditionally high-cost "flag carrier", in a much better position to compete with the likes of EasyJet and Ireland's Ryanair, which have taken large chunks of its share in short-haul routes within Europe. It made a loss of about 782 million euros previous year.

The operations in the deal would also include access to take-off and landing slots at Air Berlin's hubs in Tegel in the German capital and Duesseldorf.

The details of the purchase agreement have yet to be revealed.

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