Lufthansa finally able to proceed with ITA Airways stake

Source: Lufthansa Group

The European Commission has approved Lufthansa’s bid to buy a 41% stake in ITA Airways, over two and half years since Lufthansa first expressed interest in the Italian carrier.

Air Cargo News first reported that the MSC Group aimed to work with Lufthansa to acquire a majority stake in ITA in January 2022. But the deal fell through later that year and Lufthansa then submitted an offer for the state-owned airline to the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) in January 2023.

Following this, in May 2023, Deutsche Lufthansa reached an agreement with the MEF to acquire 41% of ITA, with the potential to purchase the rest of the state-owned airline in the future.

Now the Competition authority of the European Commission has approved the acquisition, subject to conditions, and the deal is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of this year, said Lufthansa Group in a press release on July 3.

“This requires both the prior implementation of the remedies negotiated with the EU Commission and the approval of other competition authorities outside the EU,” said Lufthansa.

“Options for the acquisition of the remaining shares in ITA Airways have been agreed between Lufthansa Group and MEF and can be exercised from 2025 at the earliest,” added Lufthansa.

Carsten Spohr, chief executive of Deutsche Lufthansa AG, said: “The acquisition of ITA Airways strengthens the internationalization of the Lufthansa Group.”

He added: “We will make ITA Airways a strong and successful part of our company and thus secure its future as an international airline and strong brand. ITA Airways will support us in further expanding our position as Number One in Europe.”

Lufthansa Group and Rome-based ITA Airways are jointly planning a swift integration of ITA Airways, which has almost 5,000 employees. The airline does not have any freighters but Lufthansa will be able to make use of belly capacity across its fleet of Airbus A220, A319, A320, A321, A330 and A350 passenger aircraft.

ITA Airways is to become the fifth network airline to be closely integrated with Lufthansa Group while keeping its brand name ITA Airways.  Following the integration, Rome Fiumicino Airport will become Lufthansa Group’s sixth and geographically southernmost hub.

Italy will become the Lufthansa Group’s fifth “home market”. It will then be the Lufthansa Group’s second largest market in terms of revenue after Germany and the US. Italy is already the second most important market for the company outside its home markets after the US.

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.

Lufthansa becomes minority shareholder in ITA

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Rebecca Jeffrey

Rebecca Jeffrey
New to aviation journalism, I joined Air Cargo News in late 2021 as deputy editor. I previously worked for Mercator Media’s six maritime sector magazines as a reporter, heading up news for Port Strategy. Prior to this, I was editor for Recruitment International (now TALiNT International). Contact me on: [email protected]