LONDON – Deutsche Lufthansa AG is aiming to acquire a stake in the Italian national carrier ITA Airways (Italia Trasporto Aereo S.p.A.).
The plan is to agree on the initial acquisition of a minority stake as well as on options to purchase the remaining shares at a later date.
Today, the company submitted an offer to the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance (Ministero dell’economia e delle finanze) to conclude a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in this respect.
Contingent on both parties signing this MoU, further negotiations and discussions would be conducted on an exclusive basis.
These talks would primarily focus on the form of a possible equity investment, the commercial and operational integration of ITA into the Lufthansa Airline Group, as well as resulting synergies.
In case of a binding agreement is reached, its implementation would be subject to approval by the relevant authorities.
For Lufthansa Group, Italy is the most important market outside of its home markets and the US. Italy’s importance for both business and private travel lies in its strong export-oriented economy and status as one of Europe’s top vacation spots.
ITA Airways performance
At the same time, ITA Airways has noted its 2022 performance in a recent announcement of attendance at the Spanish International Tourism Fair taking place from the 18th to the 22nd of January 2023 in Madrid.
In terms of commercial performance, ITA Airways closed 2022 with several key results.
More than 10 million passengers were carried, and the airline has consistently earned top rankings globally, for both Regularity and Punctuality, recording 99% of its entire operation completed in regularity and more than 82% of its flights landing on time, with peaks of 87% in December.
In the local market, ITA Airways currently operates 56 weekly frequencies between Spain and Italy thanks to daily flights from Barcelona and Madrid airports to its Rome Fiumicino hub.
Services will increase to 84 with three daily frequencies from each Spanish city starting in June, and connections to the Company’s entire network of destinations in the domestic market as well as in the rest of the world, including South America with Brazil and Argentina.
In summer, the Company will also offer seasonal connections to the Balearic Islands (Ibiza, Majorca, and Menorca), and other Mediterranean destinations
Long-haul route network expansion
One of the stated pillars in the airline’s overall expansion strategy is the expansion of its intercontinental network, which currently operates to 51 destinations in the present winter season, including 9 intercontinental routes.
Among the long-haul flights, are the new connections from Rome Fiumicino to San Francisco and Washington, which will be operational in the summer season, as well as the flights to Rio de Janeiro that will open in November 2023.
These new destinations join the flights launched in 2022 to Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, Tokyo Haneda, New Delhi and Malé (Maldives) and those offered in the United States, including New York, Boston, Miami, and Los Angeles.
In addition, with the entry of the new Airbus A321neo in the fleet, the airline has plans to open new destinations to the Middle East: Riyadh, Jeddah and Kuwait City.