NEW DELHI: The mega German Lufthansa Group
will now own 41% of Alitalia successor ITA Airways. The Italian airline is the latest addition in EU to the Lufthansa
Group’s airline segment that includes Lufthansa German Airlines, SWISS, Austrian, Brussels Airlines and Eurowings. The group reached an agreement with Italian ministry of economy and finance MEF) to acquire 41% in ITA through a capital increase of Euro 325 million – with the option to acquire all remaining shares at a later date.
ITA flies to India and will be the third group airline with presence here after Lufthansa and SWISS. Austrian used to fly to India but has suspended flights for some years now.
Deutsche Lufthansa AG CEO Carsten Spohr said: “(May 25) agreement will lead to a win-win situation for Italy, ITA Airways and Lufthansa Group. And it is good news for Italian consumers and for Europe, because a stronger ITA will invigorate competition in the Italian market. As a young company with a modern fleet, and with its efficient and expanding hub in Rome, ITA is a perfect fit for Lufthansa Group.”
“In Milan, ITA serves a strong catchment area which also offers potential for growth. As part of the Lufthansa Group family, ITA can develop into a sustainable and profitable airline, connecting Italy with Europe and the world. At the same time, this investment will enable us to continue our growth in one of our most important markets,” Spohr added.
While the Euro 325 million capital contribution will directly benefit ITA, MEF has also committed to a capital increase of Euro 250 million into ITA as part of the agreement. In addition, MEF and Lufthansa have agreed on options to enable a potential acquisition of the remaining shares by Lufthansa at a later date. The purchase price for the remaining shares will be based on the business development of ITA Airways.
“The contractual finalisation of the agreement is expected to be completed shortly. The acquisition of the minority stake is subject to approval by the relevant authorities. Upon closing of this transaction, ITA Airways and Lufthansa Group are expected to immediately start their cooperation at a commercial and operational level. As a network airline, ITA will closely cooperate with Lufthansa Group to benefit from group synergies,” Lufthansa said in a statement.
ITA Airways will become the fifth network carrier in Lufthansa Group’s multi-brand and multi-hub system. Italy represents the most important market outside the Group’s home base countries and the United States. Italy is the third-largest economy in Europe in terms of gross domestic product, with a strong export-oriented economy. This is one among many reasons why business travel to and from Italy is important. For private travellers, the Mediterranean country is one of the most popular leisure destinations in the world.
ITA Airways was founded in November 2020 and has about 4,000 employees. With a fleet of 66 Airbus aircraft it carries over 10 million passengers per. Currently, ITA serves 64 destinations: 21 domestic, 33 international and 10 intercontinental routes. Its Rome hub will now be used to further diversify ITA’s network towards Africa and Latin America, offering its customers an improved connectivity to the Southern hemisphere.
“As part of Lufthansa Group, ITA will remain a standalone airline with its own management and a strong brand identity – in line with Lufthansa Group’s successful multi-hub, multi-brand and multi-AOC strategy. At the same time, ITA can benefit from synergies of the Group, such as access to the partner network, central revenue management and the use of Lufthansa Group’s global sales and marketing channels,” Lufthansa statement said.