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Lufthansa CEO says next move in Air Berlin talks up to Abu Dhabi
[HAMBURG] Lufthansa has held talks with Abu Dhabi about the future of loss-making Air Berlin, its chief executive said on Friday, but debt, costs and anti-trust issues remain obstacles to taking over the rest of its smaller rival.
Air Berlin, 29 per cent owned by Abu Dhabi state-owned carrier Etihad, already leases 38 planes and crews to Lufthansa. "The debt problem can only be resolved by the government of Abu Dhabi," Carsten Spohr told journalists on the sidelines of the group's annual shareholder meeting.
Mr Spohr earlier this week travelled to Abu Dhabi as part of a business delegation accompanying German chancellor Angela Merkel.
He also said he was optimistic for bookings for the coming months, echoing comments from rival Air France-KLM this week.
Earlier on Friday, IAG, the owner of British Airways, Iberia, Vueling and Aer Lingus, posted record first- quarter operating profit, and said a turnaround in pricing was happening faster than expected.