Ryanair challenges Lufthansa’s Air Berlin deal

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LCC to take €210mn deal to EU competition regulator
Ryanair says it will challenge a newly announced deal in which Lufthansa will buy parts of the bankrupt carrier Air Berlin, pledging to refer the €210 million deal to the EU’s competition regulator.
Lufthansa wants to use Air Berlin’s aircraft for its own fast-expanding low-cost carrier Eurowings.
Since Air Berlin filed for bankruptcy in August after shareholder Etihad withdrew financial support, the German government has kept its flights in the air, at least until the end of October.
Negotiations over its assets have now resulted in Lufthansa agreeing to buy its Austrian leisure travel airline Niki, its regional airline LG Walter and 20 additional planes.
Ryanair has described the talks as a ruse to simply strengthen the German flag carrier.
“We will be referring the matter to the EU competition authority in due course,” said a Ryanair spokesman. But while Andreas Mundt, head of Germany’s cartel office, said the European Commission would study the deal, Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr says he expects EU approval by the end of the year.