Lufthansa CEO to sign Air Berlin deal today

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Insolvent German airline Air Berlin AB1.DE is continuing talks with easyJet EZJ.L on Thursday, a spokesman for Air Berlin said, without saying whether a contract was expected to be signed with the British airline.

As part of the deal Lufthansa will take over Air Berlin's low-priced leisure airline Niki, its LG Walter regional airline as well as 20 additional aircraft - bringing the total to around 80 planes.

The CEO said that a milestone in Lufthansa's history will be seen in Berlin on Thursday.

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

Air Berlin, which once employed around 8,000 people, filed for bankruptcy in August after its funding was cut off by Etihad, one of its major shareholders. Germany's second-largest airline announced it will end flights by October 28.

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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.

Spohr rebuffed the accusation that Lufthansa was becoming a "threatening monopoly", pointing out that the airlines global market share was just 3% globally, and 14% in Europe.

Britain's EasyJet is reportedly still in negotiations to buy some of the Air Berlin planes that haven't been snapped up by Lufthansa.

In 2016, Air Berlin showed a record 782 million euros in losses - a 75 per cent increase compared to 2015 - which the company attributed to restructuring costs and depreciation.

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