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Insolvent German airline Air Berlin AB1.DE is continuing talks with easyJet EZJ.L on Thursday, a spokesman for Air Berlin said, without saying whether a contract was expected to be signed with the British airline.

He said he decided not to submit a bid as it was a "conspiracy" between the German government, Lufthansa, and Air Berlin that would drive up prices for customers.

Lufthansa has yet to say how much it will pay under the deal, but Spohr told newspaper Rheinische Post today that the group would invest 1.5 billion euros (USD 1.8 billion) in its low-priced subsidiary Eurowings following the takeover.

Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr had earlier suggested that Lufthansa would purchase 81 of Air Berlin's 144 planes, as well as take on around 3,000 of the company's staff.

He added that 80 planes was the largest addition to Lufthansa's fleet that competition authorities would accept.

Last month it said negotiations it was holding with Lufthansa as well as easyJet, based in Britain, would continue until October 12.

"The European Commission will look very closely at this".

The statement, sales process, Committee on creditors, institutions responsible for bankruptcy process in Germany and approval of European competition institutions were transferred.

Air Berlin had been Germany's second-biggest carrier after Lufthansa.

"We will be referring the matter to the European Union competition authority in due course", a Ryanair spokesman.

Air Berlin, which once employed around 8,000 people, filed for bankruptcy in August after its funding was cut off by Etihad, one of its major shareholders.

German and global investors and competitors lined up, with an eye not only on Air Berlin's aircraft but also coveted takeoff and landing slots at crowded airports.

This is unedited, unformatted feed from the Press Trust of India wire.


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