Lufthansa has dropped out of the race to takeover Air Berlin’s Austrian arm Niki as the German flag carrier makes further concessions to the European competition regulator.
The German carrier also said it was prepared to give up “numerous” airport take off and landing slots from Air Berlin’s Dortmund-based regional subsidiary LGW to gain merger clearance from the European Commission.
The moves follow easyJet winning approval from Brussels to takeover part of Air Berlin’s former operations at Berlin Tegel airport, including the operation of 25 aircraft.
“Lufthansa had already offered extensive commitments in particular by giving up slots,” the airline said.
“However, the Commission considers this to be insufficient and has clearly indicated that an acquisition of Niki and its integration into the Eurowings Group would currently not be approved.
“Based on this assessment, a takeover of Niki by Eurowings is no longer being pursued.
“Lufthansa has informed both Air Berlin and its administrator that it intends to close the transaction excluding the acquisition of Niki.
“With regard to the still intended takeover of LGW, Lufthansa would give up numerous slots in order to obtain merger clearance.”
Lufthansa Group vowed to maintain a plan to expand its point-to-point business increasingly through organic growth of low cost arm Eurowings.
Lufthansa has a deadline of December 21 to convince the Commission that its proposal for the bulk of Air Berlin does not breach competition rules.
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