Lufthansa (LH, Frankfurt Int'l) Chief Executive Officer, Carsten Spohr, has engaged the European Commission (EC) following reports the bloc's antitrust unit was considering vetoing the German carrier's proposed acquisition of Air Berlin's Austrian production carrier, Niki (HG, Vienna).

Last month, Lufthansa Group announced it would acquire Niki and LGW - Luftfahrtgesellschaft Walter from Air Berlin as part of EUR210 million euro (USD248.72 million) deal.

Citing sources close to developments, Reuters reported that Spohr had met EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager on Wednesday, November 29, to discuss the bloc's antitrust concerns over Lufthansa's acquisition of Niki.

The EU's concerns come after Austria's competition regulator, BWB, last month raised its own concerns about Lufthansa's impending dominance on over 100 routes to/from Vienna were the Niki purchase to go through. It is recalled that Vienna is already a primary hub for Lufthansa Group's Austrian Airlines (OS, Vienna) unit as well as Eurowings subsidiary, Eurowings Europe (E2, Vienna).

As such, Lufthansa is expected to make "significant" concessions to Brussels in order push the deal through. German broadcaster n-tv has revealed that Lufthansa could relinquish select slots as a means of placating the EC.

Lufthansa is currently financing Niki's operation, in the hopes of eventually integrating the carrier into its Eurowings portfolio of carriers. However, if no agreement can be reached with the EC, then Niki would have to file for bankruptcy putting 800 jobs at risk.

Meanwhile, in light of these antitrust concerns, Niki's namesake founder, Niki Lauda, has reiterated his interest in retaking control of the airline. Together he and Thomas Cook Group had submitted a competing bid for the carrier but were ultimately beaten to the prize by Lufthansa.

"We are ready to talk. The looming decision in Brussels suits me," he told the Handelsblatt newspaper.

IAG International Airlines Group has also expressed an interest in the carrier, n-tv reported citing sources familiar with the talks.