BERLIN: Britain's easyJet will start competing with Lufthansa's airlines on domestic German routes from Berlin next month, following its planned takeover of parts of insolvent Air Berlin, it said on Wednesday.
The budget carrier currently flies from Berlin Schoenefeld airport to the southeast of the city to destinations outside of Germany, but the Air Berlin deal will see it move into the larger inner-city Tegel airport, previously home to Air Berlin.
Along with four domestic routes to Duesseldorf, Frankfurt, Munich and Stuttgart, easyJet will also start flying from Tegel to 15 international destinations, including Zurich, Vienna, Paris Charles de Gaulle and holiday destinations including Mallorca.
easyJet will therefore go head to head with Lufthansa's airlines in competition for German business customers.
"We believe our flight plan from Tegel will be of particular interest to business customers," easyJet Europe managing director Thomas Haagensen said in a statement.
However, the added competition may also relieve pressure on Lufthansa, which has faced concerns over its dominance in Germany following the collapse of Air Berlin.
Lufthansa is having to offer concessions in order to win EU approval for its planned purchase of Air Berlin units Niki and LGW, with CEO Carsten Spohr saying this week Lufthansa will take on Niki virtually without take-off and landing slots if necessary.
(Reporting by Victoria Bryan; Editing by Ludwig Burger and James Davey)