In a fresh twist to the restructuring taking place in the increasingly aggressive German charter market, Swissair parent SAirGroup has entered negotiations to buy a 34.7% stake in German charter carrier LTU.

The stake is held by Westdeutsche Landesbank, which has been ordered to sell by Germany's competition watchdog, the Bundeskartellamt. The order came because the bank is becoming the majority shareholder in Germany's biggest tour operator, TUI.

SAirGroup confirms that it wants to buy the share to give it "an additional foot within the European Union".

The company denies German press speculation that it is interested in as much as 100% of LTU, pointing out that if a non-EU company were to take a majority, then LTU would lose its traffic rights under German law.

Recent months have also seen the formation of new Lufthansa/ Karstadt travel consortium C & N Touristik in Germany, which now holds 90% of Lufthansa charter arm Condor.

Because of the formation of this company, Lufthansa was forced, under a competition ruling, to sell off its stakes in DER, EuroLloyd and Hapag-Lloyd.

Source: Flight International