Lufthansa Group Gains Conditional Approval for Acquisition of ITA Airways

Render of tailplanes of Lufthansa group and ITA Airways aircraft.
Image Credit: Lufthansa Group

The European Commission has granted conditional approval for Deutsche Lufthansa AG’s (Lufthansa Group) planned acquisition of a 41% stake in ITA Airways (Italia Trasporto Aereo S.p.A.).

This move marks a significant development for both airlines, paving the way for closer integration while strengthening Lufthansa Group’s presence in Italy.

Carsten Spohr, CEO of Deutsche Lufthansa AG, expressed enthusiasm about the approval, highlighting the benefits for passengers, employees, and the European aviation industry.

He anticipates welcoming ITA Airways and its talented workforce to the Lufthansa Group family soon.

This move, Spohr believes, sends a positive signal for a robust European air traffic sector that can compete effectively on a global scale.

Acquisition Details and Timeline

The acquisition, originally agreed upon in May 2023, will see Lufthansa Group invest €325 million through a capital increase to secure the minority stake.

The agreement includes options for Lufthansa to acquire the remaining shares at a later date.

Following the implementation of specific remedies agreed with the EU Commission and potential approval from other non-EU authorities, the transaction is expected to finalize in Q4 2024.

Upon closing, ITA Airways will become the fifth network airline within the Lufthansa Group, retaining its brand identity.

Render of tailplanes of Lufthansa group and ITA Airways aircraft.

The Italian carrier will leverage synergies across various areas, including global sales, the Miles & More loyalty program, and aircraft and fuel purchasing.

This integration is expected to strengthen ITA Airways’ financial standing and solidify Italy’s position as Lufthansa Group’s fifth “home market,” becoming its second-largest revenue generator after Germany and the USA.

Focus on Customer Benefits and Competition Enhancement

Lufthansa Group and ITA Airways plan a swift integration process. With nearly 5,000 ITA Airways employees joining the fold, the Lufthansa Group’s corporate culture will gain further international diversity.

Lufthansa-ITA Airways: European Union Goes On The Offensive
CAPTAIN RAJU, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Rome-Fiumicino, a prestigious five-star Skytrax-rated airport, will become Lufthansa Group’s sixth hub and its southernmost gateway.

Customers will benefit immediately through code-sharing, allowing them to combine offerings from both airlines, creating over 1,000 new transfer options, particularly to South America, North Africa, and the Middle East.

ITA Airways will further enhance competition within Italy, currently dominated by low-cost carriers.

The airline’s existing focus on quality and premium service, combined with its “Volare” loyalty program’s integration with Miles & More, will provide passengers with a seamless travel experience.

Additionally, lounge access will be mutually available, and ITA Airways is aiming for Star Alliance membership in the near future.

A new ITA Airways Airbus A320neo on the taxiway.
Photo Credit: ITA Airways

Strengthening Global Position

“The acquisition of ITA Airways strengthens Lufthansa Group’s internationalization,” Carsten Spohr emphasizes.

This move expands the network and destinations offered to customers, extends the premium offering with the Rome hub, and strategically connects the network to future markets in the southern hemisphere.

Despite concessions made to address competition concerns, Spohr believes the investment strengthens Lufthansa Group’s global position.

The company is committed to making ITA Airways a successful part of the group, ensuring its future as a prominent international airline brand that will contribute to Lufthansa Group’s continued European leadership.

While the approval allows for commercial and operational cooperation upon closing, both airlines will operate independently until then.

The agreed-upon concessions with the European Commission involve transferring slots at Milan-Linate Airport to a competitor.

It will also mean surrendering certain routes in neighboring markets where Lufthansa Group and ITA Airways currently compete.

Additionally, feeder flights from Rome to competitor hubs will improve competition on long-haul routes from Rome to North America.

About ITA Airways

Founded in November 2020 and commencing operations in October 2021, ITA Airways boasts a modern fleet of 96 Airbus aircraft and a workforce of nearly 4,860 employees.

The Rome-based carrier transported almost 15 million passengers last year and currently serves 69 destinations.

Its hub in Rome presents an ideal location for expanding the joint network towards Africa and Latin America, offering passengers enhanced connectivity to the southern hemisphere.

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 5 Min Read
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