Lufthansa to take over Brussels Airlines to boost its Eurowings budget carrier

Lufthansa said its supervisory board has approved plans to acquire the remaining 55 per cent stake in Brussels Airlines via the exercise of a call option as part of its plan to boost its low-cost unit Eurowings via acquisitions.

The board is also expected to discuss plans for Lufthansa to take on more jets for Eurowings from Air Berlin, sources have said, to help make Eurowings the third-largest low cost-carrier in Europe behind Ireland’s Ryanair and the United Kingdom’s easyJet.

Lufthansa acquired 45 per cent of Brussels Airlines owner SN Airholding in 2009 for €65 million (Dh267.7m), taking the option of acquiring the remaining 55 per cent from 2011.

Lufthansa said this year it was discussing how to bring Brussels, which has a fleet of 49 planes, into its Eurowings low-cost platform, which currently has around 90 planes.

Brussels Airlines is strong on routes to Africa, where the Lufthansa network has gaps, and the German carrier previously said it will look at ways to keep some of the branding.

The price and the concept for bringing Brussels into the Lufthansa Group must now be discussed in detail, a spokesman said on Wednesday.

The transaction, which is subject to shareholders of SN approving the details of the deal, is expected to be concluded at the beginning of 2017, Lufthansa said.

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