“Material agreement” reached between Lufthansa and EU

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Deutsche Lufthansa AG, Europe’s second-biggest airline, has reached a “material agreement” with the European Union on its purchase of Austrian Airlines AG, according to its Chief Financial Officer Stephan Gemkow.

Lufthansa, which has headquarters in Cologne, Germany and its biggest hub in Frankfurt, offered on Dec. 3 to buy Vienna- based Austrian Airlines as part of an industry consolidation prompted by the recession. Lufthansa said July 28 that it’s seeking permission from Austria’s takeover-oversight agency to extend until August 31 a contractual deadline for winning EU antitrust approval. The current deadline is for tomorrow.

Gemkow, speaking on a conference call with reporters today after the announcement of the carrier’s second-half financial results, declined to give details on any agreement to surrender takeoff and landing slots to allay competition concerns.

Maria Assimakopoulou, a European Commission spokeswoman, had no comment when reached by telephone today. She said the commission continues to conduct the market test of Lufthansa’s proposed concessions.