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ITA-Lufthansa: airport slots slow the pact

Germans are reportedly taking time to negotiate with Brussels to reduce flight windows

The Italian Government has intervened in recent days to save the agreement between the national carrier ITA Airways and the Lufthansa aviation Group. Brussels will have to express its opinion on the pact reached between the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance and the Germans, who have put 325 million euros on the table to take over 41% of the Italian airline. The issue of continuity or discontinuity between the old Alitalia and ITA remains. But above all there is the question of airport slots.

But let's go in order. The first topic has reached the forefront of the Italian public debate after the conflicting pronouncements of various judges of the Court of Rome labor section: some have ordered the reinstatement in ITA of 244 ex-Alitalia workers, while other officials have rejected the same appeal advanced by another 841 people. Up to this point, ITA Airways has had 38 favorable rulings and 3 unfavorable or partially unfavorable ones.

This different visions raises a problem: is there continuity or discontinuity between the two companies, ITA and Alitalia? A treacherous question for the ITA-Lufthansa agreement, which both parties are in any case motivated to materialize. However, the real obstacle to the authorization from Brussels, according to the European Commissioner for Competition Didier Reynders (leadership passed to him after Margrethe Vestager took leave), is the fact that Lufthansa's entry into ITA is not has not yet been formally notified to the European antitrust authority. 

This is the reason for so many doubts: why, four months after the signing of the agreements, has the formal notification still not reached its destination? Why the lively protests of the Meloni government against the slowness of Brussels? According to rumours, the ones holding up the procedure are Lufthansa's lawyers, who were told by the European antitrust that the acquisition of ITA is subject to the renunciation of some airport slots under concession in Frankfurt and Munich, used for transatlantic routes. A very delicate issue: this explains why Lufthansa does not seem to be in a hurry to close the deal: the agreement with ITA must be finalized by June 2024 (under penalty of forfeiture) so the Germans could use these 8 months to negotiate with Brussels the number of flight to put back on the market.

On the topic, see also the article published by AVIONEWS.

Gic - 1253953

AVIONEWS - World Aeronautical Press Agency