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Turkish Airlines says talks with Lufthansa positive
Turkish Airlines Chief Executive Temel Kotil said talks with Lufthansa about closer ties had been positive and that although there were no concrete developments so far an announcement could be made early next year.Turkey’s national carrier said last month it would begin talks on increased cooperation with the German airline in December but Lufthansa has not confirmed any plans for strategic negotiations.
Speaking on Turkish broadcaster CNBC-e, Kotil reiterated that German Chancellor Angela Merkel had held talks with Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan on the subject and that the “path before both companies had been cleared”.
“But of course, this is currently at the initial stage. I got together with Lufthansa’s CEO in China. As there is no concrete development at the moment we are not sharing anything but this subject is positive,” Kotil said.
“It would be good if investors perceive it as such. We may make an announcement in the first quarter of 2013,” he said.
Turkish Airlines and Lufthansa have already been working together for some time, bolstered by Germany’s large Turkish population, the pair’s membership of the Star Alliance marketing venture and a 50-50 joint venture in charter carrier SunExpress.
Speculation about plans for deepening ties between the two airlines was triggered last month when Erdogan said he had agreed with Merkel to joint management of the companies.
While there are signs Turkey wants to sell a strategic stake in an airline servicing one of the few economies in Europe and Middle East that is growing strongly, some analysts say Lufthansa has neither the money nor the inclination for an acquisition.
A combination of the German airline, Europe’s biggest by revenue, and Turkish Airlines, the world’s fastest-growing carrier, would create a group with about 600 aircraft, more than the three big Gulf carriers’ combined fleet of 500 planes. (Reuters)
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