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European Commission approves Austrian Airlines takeover

Direct News Source

28-Aug-2009 The European Commission today announced that it would be approving both the merger of Austrian Airlines and Lufthansa and restructuring aid of 500 million euros. This means there is no longer anything standing in the way of the takeover of Austrian Airlines by Lufthansa, or the conclusion of the transaction. The closing will now take place within the next 10 stock exchange trading days, after which Austrian Airlines becomes a member of Europe’s largest airline alliance.

Peter Malanik and Andreas Bierwirth, members of the Austrian Executive Board, said the following: “In Lufthansa, we have found an excellent partner for Austrian Airlines, which will enable us to offer our customers an even larger and more attractive route network in future. The economic basis of Austrian Airlines improves enormously as a member of the Lufthansa Group.” Membership of the strong Lufthansa alliance will offer Austrian Airlines sustained long-term benefits. Austrian Airlines will make use of the possibilities offered by cost synergies such as joint purchasing of fuel and aircraft.

On the revenue side, Austrian Airlines will be given access to the international route and sales network of the Lufthansa Group, and consequently to new, high-value customer segments. “Lufthansa is a huge opportunity for us. It is not an excuse for us to rest on our laurels, however. The Lufthansa Group has enormous thrust. But it will be up to us to throw the lever to ensure we can transform that thrust into the speed and altitude we are going to require. We must do our homework. We must steadily continue to implement the programme for increasing profitability we launched one year ago. If we manage to do this, then we too will be successful,” Bierwirth and Malanik said. “Our goal is to use our competence in Central and Eastern Europe, and to establish Austrian Airlines and its Vienna base as a high-performance hub for the Lufthansa Group, carrying traffic throughout Eastern Europe.”