Ryanair furious over mooted Lufthansa-airBerlin deal

Ryanair furious over mooted Lufthansa-airBerlin deal

Ryanair has lodged competition complaints with the German Bundeskartellamt and the European Commission opposing a mooted deal between Lufthansa and stricken airBerlin.

The smaller German carrier yesterday began insolvency protection proceedings, after shareholder Etihad Airways withdrew financial support.

A bridging loan has been agreed with authorities in order to keep planes in the air in the short term.

The loan, of €150 million, will be made available via the German government-owned KfW Development Bank.

However, a wider take over by German flag-carrier Lufthansa has been mooted as a potential long-term solution to situation.

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This has been branded an “obvious conspiracy” by Ryanair.

The Irish low-cost carrier argues any deal between the German government, Lufthansa and airBerlin would be a “carve up”, designed to exclude competitors.

Ryanair argues any deal would ignore both EU competition and state aid rules.

A statement from Ryanair said: “Given the fact that the German government is centrally involved in these manoeuvres, the Bundeskartellamt is likely to struggle to get out of bed.

“On this basis, and bearing in mind the scale of the market shares and the European implications involved, it is all the more important that the European Commission takes immediate and decisive action.

“This manufactured insolvency is clearly being set up to allow Lufthansa to take over a debt-free airBerlin which will be in breach of all known German and EU competition rules.”