Brussels Airlines CEO expects EU Commission to clear Lufthansa deal


The Co-Chief Executive of Brussels Airlines said on Thursday he expects the EU Commission to give its green light to Lufthansa’s planned acquisition of the Belgian carrier in the next coming days.

“We are preparing ourselves that a statement would be issued in the next coming days,” Bernard Gustin told Reuters in an interview.

Sources said the EU would clear the deal but would slap conditions at the same time, such as giving some of the starting and landing rights to rivals.

Lufthansa will initially acquire a 45 percent stake in the airline for 65 million euros ($90.71 million) while the current shareholders, which include Virgin Group, will own 55 percent.

From 2011, Lufthansa has the option to acquire another 55 percent stake.

Gustin said he does not expect Brussels to be profitable in 2009 but this still remained the company’s goal.

“2009 will be a very difficult year. I do not believe that we will be profitable but that still remains our target,” he said.

Last year, Brussels had a net loss of 12 million euros due to higher costs for fuel oil hedging and entry to the Star Alliance airline network.

At 1338 GMT, Lufthansa was up 0.74 percent at 8.89 euros while the DAX30 .GDAX was down 0.13 percent.