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This will create giant waves in the aviation industry if this comes through: German Chancellor Angela Merkel, hosting Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on his visit to Germany, has told him that she would like the two countries to work on a joint management and operations of the two airline giants, according to Turkish language reports coming out of the country.
This is the exact translated quote: Erdogan said, “During my visit to Germany, Chancellor Merkel offered to establish joint management for Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines. And, I have responded positively to Merkel’s offer. We have already had plans for joint projects and I hope to take such a joint step together with Lufthansa.”
The two are already joint owners of the local Turkish SunExpress airline, and members of Star Alliance, one of the global networks. The two have a codeshare and co-ticket sales agreement with Turkish, which hasn’t been easy going for the two after EU decided to probe into the agreement. So a merger of operations and/or management is a long way off, and will likely run into tons of EU hurdles, along other regulatory issues.
Lufthansa is in the midst of a big $1.9 billion cost cutting program, and focused on that, while Turkish government which is half owner of the national airline, has indicated it is open to selling off up to 30 percent stake, but no concrete steps have been outlined
From Reuters: It was not immediately clear what [Erdogan] meant and both companies declined to make specific comment. Turkish Airlines spokesman told Reuters he had not heard of such a development. “There is nothing concrete that we have been informed of. If a big decision is to be taken here, a management board decision would be necessary. But there is no such thing at the moment,” the spokesman said.
Lufthansa spokesman Klaus Walther said: “We are always in talks about how we can further improve and intensify the cooperation between Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines for the benefit of our customers,” he said.