BERLIN (Reuters) - Lufthansa (LHAG.DE) expects to see a positive impact on its results in 2019 from a deal to take over large parts of insolvent rival Air Berlin AB1.DE, after work next year to integrate the operations, managers said on Wednesday.
Lufthansa is investing 1.5 billion euros ($1.8 billion) in total in the project, which will see it take on 81 additional aircraft and grow its Eurowings budget brand.
“It will be a major operating challenge for Eurowings,” Chief Executive Carsten Spohr said.
Air Berlin will cease operations on Friday, and Spohr said that Lufthansa hoped to fly around three quarters of Air Berlin’s passengers over the coming months.
Lufthansa has announced plans to temporarily use wide-body planes on some short-haul routes to meet the additional demand created by Air Berlin’s collapse.
Finance chief Ulrik Svensson said he expected project costs of around 50 million euros next year for items such as repainting planes and re-training staff.
Reporting by Victoria Bryan; Editing by Maria Sheahan