Lufthansa eyes buying out rest of Brussels airport

Lufthansa’s supervisory board is to meet on April 27 to discuss buying the 55% of Brussels Airlines which it does not yet own, German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported yesterday.

Lufthansa, which is due to hold its annual general meeting on April 28, declined to comment on the report.

Brussels Airlines is attractive for Lufthansa because of the business traffic which flows through its hub in the Belgian capital, where many EU institutions are based. 

However, bomb attacks on Brussels’ airport and subway network last month which forced the airport to close cost the airline around €5 million a day. The airport partially reopened on April 3 but yesterday about 50 flights from the airport were cancelled, as a strike among air traffic controllers entered a second day. Labour leaders had asked staff to call in sick on Tuesday due to disagreements over a proposed dispute settlement, including a rise in the minimum retirement age. 

A spokesman for air traffic authority Belgocontrol said some workers had again called in sick yesterday. Lufthansa bought 45% of Brussels Airlines for €65m but retained an option to acquire the rest by 2018, with the total price for the takeover coming to as much as €250m.

Lufthansa CFO Simone Menne said last month the German airline would like to “come to a conclusion” on Brussels Airlines this year. “We expect an important step in the second quarter,” she said.


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