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In an announcement today, Lufthansa Group reported that it’s going to acquire the remaining 55% of shares of Brussels Airlines, a deal that’s expected to close in early 2017. Previously, Lufthansa owned 45% of Brussels Airlines, so this deal will bring the remaining 55% under the reigns of the massive airline group. However, with the close of the deal expected next year, it’s still unclear what could happen with the Brussels Airlines brand under Lufthansa’s wing.

The Germany-based group already owns Swiss Air, Austrian Airlines and Eurowings from previous acquisitions, and all have remained as their own independent brands. But Reuters is reporting that this acquisition could be a bit different, as earlier this year, Lufthansa was discussing how to bring Brussels Airlines to its low-cost Eurowings platform.

Economy class on a Brussels Air A330.

Lufthansa uses Eurowings to compete with other low-cost European carriers like Ryanair and easyJet, so adding Brussels’ aircraft to that equation could help to stretch Lufthansa’s reach across Europe. It’s still unclear — if this is actually Lufthansa’s intention — if the Brussels brand would remain and just follow Eurowings’ model or if all of its aircraft and branding would be fully folded into Eurowings.

Ultimately, this is a move from Lufthansa to try and stretch its reach to points further across Europe — and perhaps even to long-haul destinations with its A330. Brussels Airlines has a loyal following in its namesake city and country, so it could potentially be a smart move for Lufthansa to keep the Brussels branding as is indefinitely.

H/T: One Mile at a Time

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