Lufthansa has denied claims from Ryanair that it is attempting to “destablise and damage” the Irish budget carrier’s take over of Austrian carrier Laudamotion.

The German airline hit back at allegations from Ryanair made after it won the green light to acquire a majority stake in the carrier set up by former Formula One racing car champion Niki Lauda.

Lufthansa is attempting to reclaim nine aircraft used by Laudamotion, according to the Irish budget carrier.

Lufthansa acquired the aircraft from Laudamotion predecessor Niki after it folded in December as part of the collapse of Air Berlin.

An attempt by Lufthansa to buy Niki was blocked by the European Commission and the airline was re-launched as Laudamotion using the Lufthansa aircraft.

But Laudamotion did not want to buy the aircraft from the German flag carrier and instead opted to lease them.

Describing Ryanair’s allegations as “completely unfounded,” Lufthansa said it had fully complied with all EU Commission obligations regarding the required transfer of aircraft to Laudamotion.

“This is true of both the number of aircraft involved and their leasing terms,” Lufthansa said.

“All the aircraft covered by the EU decision were offered for sale to Laudamotion by Lufthansa. Laudamotion rejected this offer, preferring to lease the aircraft instead.

Laudamotion has recently failed – repeatedly – to meet its contractually-agreed lease payment obligations,” Lufthansa added.

“Lufthansa has exercised its contractually-agreed right of termination because of a violation of contractual terms by Laudamotion, and has terminated the lease agreements on nine aircraft due to the non-payment of the lease amounts involved.”

Lufthansa added that it needed the aircraft for its own low cost arm  Eurowings.

Ryanair, which previously owned 24.5% of Laudamotion, alleged that Lufthansa had delayed handing over the aircraft, reducing its ability to take up take off and landing slots.

Laudamotion was only able to operate its fleet this summer by wet leasing ten Boeing 737s from Ryanair, it was claimed.

Ryanair chief legal and regulatory officer, Juliusz Komorek, had said: “We urge the EU competition authorities to take action and prevent any further attempts by Lufthansa to damage competition through its anti-consumer behaviour.”

But Lufthansa refuted the “false allegations” and said it “has fully complied with all EU Commission obligations regarding the required transfer of aircraft to Laudamotion. This is true of both the number of aircraft involved and their leasing terms”.

However, Ryanair claimed: “Despite Lufthansa owing Laudamotion over €1.5 million in overdue lease payments for the months of March, April and May, Lufthansa has attempted to terminate all 9 aircraft leases on unfounded legal grounds, even though lease rentals for the full month of July had already been paid at the end of June.”