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ITA-Lufthansa: Brussels' yes will come

The definition of the details of the agreement within 60-90 days

Brussels would be ready to give the green light to the marriage between the airlines Lufthansa and ITA Airways. The approval should arrive in the next few days, ahead of the deadline set for July 4th. It will then take between 60 and 90 days to define a key aspect of the agreement: the transfer of airport slots at Milan-Linate airport. The former CEO of Air Dolomiti is in pole position as the new CEO.

Thus the last obstacles that prevented the technical office of the European Competition Commission, led by Margrethe Vestager, from validating the agreement signed in May 2023 between the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF), led by Giancarlo Giorgetti, and the German Lufthansa Group, headed by CEO Carsten Spohr, have fallen down. 

The Mef-Lufthansa agreement provides for 41% of ITA to pass to the Germans through a capital increase of 325 million euros. This is money put on the table by the Germans, which however will return to Lufthansa's wallet through the large revenues deriving from the sale of ITA airline tickets, in particular through the profitable intercontinental routes between Italy and North America. According to rumours, by 2026 the Germans will then acquire a further 49% of ITA, thus rising to 90%, leaving the remaining 10% in the hands of the Italian Government. 

The package of remedies sent by the Italian Government and the German airline and approved by the European antitrust includes four aspects: firstly the transfer of 15-17 pairs of airport slots (30-34 flights) at Milan-Linate with ITA-Lufthansa which they hold 63% of flight windows; furthermore, a competing air carrier (perhaps easyJet and Volotea) will take over the Lombardy airport and will operate the same short-haul routes with the same frequency; the same goes for some intercontinental routes between Italy and North America; finally there will be interventions to stabilize airline ticket prices. Spohr explained that it will take 18 months to integrate ITA into the Lufthansa group.

Let's get to the managerial issues. The current general director of ITA, Andrea Benassi, and the president, Antonino Turicchi, will leave the leadership of the Italian airline, as planned. In fact, the objective of their assignment was to complete the privatization of the Italian company. According to various industry experts, the new CEO of ITA-Lufthansa could be Joerg Eberhart, former CEO of the Air Dolomiti company and currently Head of Strategy of the Lufthansa Group. 

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

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AVIONEWS - World Aeronautical Press Agency