Lufthansa will sign a deal today to buy parts of insolvent German carrier Air Berlin, Lufthansa chief executive Carsten Spohr said.
The CEO said that a milestone in Lufthansa's history will be seen in Berlin on Thursday.
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Last month it said negotiations it was holding with Lufthansa as well as easyJet, based in Britain, would continue until October 12.
Lufthansa, Germany's largest airline, is set to buy Air Berlin's Niki leisure unit, its LG Walter regional airline and some additional short-haul aircraft, Reuters reported. Air Berlin said that Lufthansa would pay 210 million euros for Air Berlin assets, enabling it to repay a 150 million credit from the German federal government that had allowed it to keep flying.
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The sale still needs approval from creditors and European Union anti-trust authorities to take effect.
Shares in Lufthansa were up 2.9 percent at 25.27 euros (22.67 pounds), the top gained in Germany's DAX market index 0#.GDAXI by 0800 GMT after Spohr's comments and upbeat notes from brokerages. 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.
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Air Berlin declared bankruptcy in August following years of losses and the decision of its biggest shareholder, Gulf airline Etihad, to cease financing. He said in the Rheinische Post that he expects airline competition to get even more intense, and that it's only right that airlines that can't break even should disappear from the market-he gave Monarch in the United Kingdom and Alitalia in Italy as examples.
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