Air Berlin says talks with easyJet continue

Air Berlin says talks with easyJet continue

The budget Irish airline said it would take the €210m deal to European competition authorities.

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

The move drew fire from European competitors, which accused the German government of unfairly helping the Frankfurt-based Lufthansa get a leg up on the its EU rivals by offering Air Berlin a lifeline. He said he decided not to submit a bid as it was a "conspiracy" between the German government, Lufthansa, and Air Berlin that would drive up prices for customers.

A person who is familiar with the ongoing situation said Wednesday that Lufthansa, the largest airline in Germany, was going to acquire the Niki, the Austrian leisure travel line of Air Berlin, its regional airline LG Walter, and also some other aircraft that were short-haul.

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Germany's second-largest carrier has since been negotiating with potential buyers for parts of its business.

Ryanair previously described the negotiations as a "stitch-up" meant to strengthen Lufthansa.

Lufthansa would be interested if there was an opportunity to create a new Alitalia, the German flagship carrier's Chief Executive Carsten Spohr said on Thursday.

Air Berlin declared itself insolvent on August 15 after losing financial support from its majority investor, Etihad Airways, and began negotiations with Lufthansa and the United Kingdom's easyJet, which were set to conclude on Thursday.

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