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German carrier Lufthansa looks set to make a bid for low-cost airline Norwegian.com as Lufthansa CEO confirms the two airlines are in talks.
The news comes after British Airways parent International Airlines Group (IAG) failed in their bid to take control of the airline earlier this year when it had two bids rejected.
Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr was quoted in Suddeutsche Zeitung, one of Germanies largest newspapers, as saying: “There’s a new wave of consolidation approaching. That means we are also in contact with Norwegian.”
Concerns have been raised about Norwegians rapid fleet and route growth at a time when rising oil prices and network disruption are hitting the bottom line for airlines.
One attraction for Lufthansa would be Norwegians big UK presence. Its subsidiary, Norwegian Air UK operates low-cost flights from London Gatwick (LGW/EGKK) to destinations across Europe, USA, Asia and South Ameria. It owns a substantial number of slots at the UK’s second biggest airport.
Norwegian Air UK operates a fleet of 14 modern Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft along with a Boeing 737-800.
In addition to Gatwick, Norwegian also operates from Belfast (BFS/EGAA), Edinburgh (EDI/EGPH) and Manchester (MAN/EGCC).
Norwegian have not confirmed a direct approach from Lufthansa but has said that it has interest from several parties since the failed IAG bid.
Share prices in the group rose 10% overnight on the back of the news.