Air Berlin says talks with easyJet continue

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Germany's biggest airline Lufthansa will buy more than half of the aircraft of its bankrupt competitor Air Berlin, chief executive Carsten Spohr said on Thursday.

EasyJet reportedly has been discussing acquiring 27 to 30 planes.

Although Air Berlin and Lufthansa's existing low-priced airline, Eurowings, are the only carriers serving routes such as those between Munich and Cologne, Spohr said the combined operation would not boost prices as competition in Europe is set to "intensify".

While it conducted the negotiations, Air Berlin's planes were kept in the air by a government loan of 150 million euros.

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Air Berlin said late last month that negotiations with Lufthansa and easyJet would continue until October 12. The big question now is what will come out of the EasyJet talks-an Air Berlin spokesperson declined to comment on Thursday morning, suggesting a statement would come out later in the day, while EasyJet also refused to comment on the "ongoing discussions".

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.

Meanwhile German family-owned logistics firm Zeitfracht said it had made a new offer for Air Berlin's cargo marketing platform and its maintenance business with a partner.

Italian flag carrier Alitalia is in administration and seeking investors too, British leisure airline Monarch collapsed at the start of this month, stranding thousands overseas, and low cost Ryanair has cancelled thousands of flights after a pilot rostering mess-up.

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