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ITA-Lufthansa (2): decision by 6 June

Remedies are needed on short-haul Italy-Central Europe routes and on some intercontinental flights

By 6 June 2024 the European Competition Commission should take a final decision on the agreement between the Lufthansa aviation Group and the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) for the privatization of the national carrier ITA Airways, in which the Germans invested 325 million euros in a capital increase to acquire 41% of the airline's corporate shares.

The Italian Minister of Economy, Giancarlo Giorgetti, had announced that the decision would be postponed from January to May-June. The Lufthansa-Italian Government agreement provides that in subsequent years the Germans will also have the possibility to acquire the remaining 69% of ITA Airways. For its part, the MEF, now the sole shareholder of the airline, will contribute another 250 million euros as soon as the marriage is signed.

Brussels had to give its decision by January 29, but yesterday it officially announced the move to "phase 2" of the evaluation of the Lufthansa-ITA agreement. The European Competition Commission, led by Margrethe Vestager, asked for more time because it believes "the operation could reduce competition" on "several short- and long-haul routes", it said in a statement.

Now there are another 90 working days available in which ITA-Lufthansa will have to propose remedies to obtain the green light from Brussels. The two airlines will have to sacrifice some flights on the short-haul routes connecting Italy with central European countries; regarding intercontinental flights attention falls on some routes between Italy and the United States, Canada, Japan and India.

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

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AVIONEWS - World Aeronautical Press Agency