MSC drops out of bid with Lufthansa for ITA Airways

By Rebecca Jeffrey

Photo: Shutterstock

Lufthansa now faces a decision on whether to continue its play for ITA Airways after Mediterranean Shipping Co. (MSC) declared it was no longer interested in the privatisation project.

Switzerland-headquartered shipping firm MSC submitted a joint bid with German airline Lufthansa in May for a stake in Italian airline ITA Airways, but the privatisation initiative has since dragged on with no successful bids confirmed.

Meanwhile, MSC has decided to launch its own air cargo operation in partnership with Atlas Air.

MSC said in a recent statement that it is “no longer interested in participating in the privatisation of ITA Airways”.

Also understood by Air Cargo News to be in the running for a stake is a rival consortium led by US private equity firm Certares, which includes Air France-KLM and Delta Air Lines as strategic partners.

Air Cargo News has contacted Lufthansa for comment.

Air Cargo News first reported that the MSC Group aimed to work with Lufthansa to acquire a majority stake in ITA in January.

In February, the Italian government began the process of finding a partner for ITA, confirming that it would maintain a minority stake.

ITA Airways commenced operations in October 2021 and is the successor company to state-owned Alitalia (which ceased operations in October 2021).

The company is wholly owned by the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance.

MSC would not be the first shipping business to invest in aviation over the last year; France-based shipping group CMA CGM is also investing in the air cargo market. In December 2021, it firmed up an order for four A350F aircraft and applied to launch an airline – its current four freighter aircraft are operated by Air Belgium.

AP Moller Maersk, which owns the world’s largest container shipping line Maersk Line, is also expanding into the air cargo market. In November 2021, the company acquired freight forwarder Senator International and five freighters.

In December 2021, Bolloré Group received an offer from MSC to acquire 100% of Bolloré Africa Logistics.

MSC and Lufthansa eye ITA Airways

Atlas Air in B777F ACMI deal with MSC Air Cargo

Italian government kicks off ITA sale

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