Brussels approves Lufthansa’s purchase of Italian airline ITA with conditions

The European Commission approved this Wednesday the purchase of 41% of the Italian flag carrier ITA Airways by the German aviation group Lufthansa, but subject to compliance with ‘remedies’ for fear restrictions on competition and higher prices.

In a released statement, the community executive states that it approved, under European Union (EU) rules for mergers, the joint acquisition of ITA Airways by Lufthansa and the Ministry of Economy and Finance of Italy, with the Italian Government fully owning the carrier and will sell a part (41%) to the German group.

Brussels emphasizes that “approval is conditional on full compliance with the corrective measures proposed by Lufthansa and the Ministry of Economy and Finance”, which are based on the access of competing companies to short and long-haul routes distance through agreements and the provision of ‘slots’ (slots for take-off and landing) at Milan Linate airport.

The approval comes after, last March, the community executive indicated, on a preliminary basis, that the deal could restrict competition on certain routes (short and long haul) in the services market. those for air transport of passengers to and from Italy, a situation that could lead to an increase in prices or a decrease in the quality of services.

Previously, last January, Brussels began an in-depth investigation into the purchase.

It was to avoid this scenario that the European Commission imposed these ‘remedies’, arguing in the released note that “Lufthansa and ITA operate a vast network of routes from their respective hub airports in Austria , Belgium, Germany, Switzerland and Italy”.

The institution further argues that, “although ITA is currently presenting good results, its long-term sustainability as an autonomous carrier would continue to be very uncertain in the absence of the operation”, hence the ‘green light’ to transaction.

Brussels was notified about the deal last November, which is based on the acquisition by Lufthansa of a 41% stake in ITA for 325 million euros, with the remainder relating to the stake of the Italian State.

Created in October 2020, the Italian airline ITA succeeded Alitalia, which closed after more than 70 years of activity and after several failed attempts to make the company profitable.

Like its predecessor, ITA is currently entirely owned by the Italian Government through its Ministry of Economy and Finance.

At a time when the Portuguese Government has already announced its intention to privatize at least 51% of TAP, the German airline Lufthansa was one of the carriers that expressed interest in the business.


Francesco Giganti

Journalist, social media, blogger and pop culture obsessive in newshubpro

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