Lufthansa announced yesterday (October 12) that it has signed an agreement to buy parts of Air Berlin, including leisure airline Niki, the LG Walter regional carrier and 20 other aircraft.

Air Berlin filed for administration in August and has been in talks with Lufthansa and Easyjet to buy parts of the airline – the Easyjet discussion is still ongoing. The carrier announced earlier this week that it believed it would have to cease operations after October 28 due to insolvency regulation.

However, a Ryanair spokesman said the low-cost carrier intends to refer the deal to EU competition authorities. It hinted that it was unhappy when Lufthansa expressed interest in buying Air Berlin after the insolvency was announced, calling negotiations a “stitch-up” designed to strengthen Lufthansa’s market share.

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