Flying High Isn’t the Time to Buy Europe’s Largest Airline

Lufthansa’s deal for Air Berlin’s assets effectively creates a local airline hegemon in Europe’s largest economy

A year ago, Lufthansa looked in deep trouble. Europe’s largest airline by sales had no finance director; demand was weak following terrorist attacks; costs were rising; a long-simmering dispute over pilot pay forced it to cancel thousands of flights; budget carriers like Ryanair were aggressively targeting its German heartland; European airline consolidation looked as remote a prospect as ever. Last October the shares slipped below €10 for the first time since 2012.

The picture now could hardly be more different. Thursday...

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