The supervisory board of Lufthansa Group on Tuesday approved an investment of some €1 billion for the acquisition of 61 airplanes by its Eurowings low-fare subsidiary. The plan, which Lufthansa said remains dependent on the successful conclusion of negatiations to acquire parts of bankrupt Air Berlin, would involve both purchases and lease of 41 Airbus A320-family narrowbodies and 20 Bombardier Q400 turboprops. The company said it plans to finance the acquisitions from existing liquid funds.
Over the past few months, Lufthansa had already taken on 20 aircraft operated by Eurowings under the existing wet-lease agreement with Air Berlin, 15 by acquisition and five more leased with a purchasing option.
Subject to approval by antitrust authorities, Eurowings may expand by a total of up to 81 airplanes. The expansion would require up to 3,000 more pilot and flight attendant jobs due to the hiring and intended acquisition of companies within the Air Berlin Group. Lurthansa has already begun advertising job opportunities and started hiring.
“We now have the great opportunity to take a decisive step forward with Eurowings in Europe," said Lufthansa Group chairman Carsten Spohr. “The supervisory board and the executive board agree that we are determined to seize this opportunity. With the approval of an additional investment framework for the acquisition of aircraft, the necessary preconditions have now been met. For Eurowings, it will be a major challenge to cope with the rapid growth.”