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ITA Airways Chairman Affirms Unwavering Commitment to Lufthansa Merger

 |  April 3, 2024

ITA Airways Chairman Antonino Turicchi has reaffirmed the airline’s resolute commitment to its merger plans with Lufthansa, dismissing any alternative strategies. Amidst regulatory challenges from the European Commission, both ITA Airways and Lufthansa are actively working towards addressing concerns raised over antitrust issues.

Lufthansa aims to secure a 41% stake in ITA Airways from the Italian Treasury for EUR325 million euros (USD352 million). However, hurdles have emerged as European Commission scrutiny intensifies due to potential anticompetitive implications. The parties involved are actively seeking remedies to mitigate these concerns, with a looming deadline set for April 26th. Brussels initiated an extensive investigation on January 23rd, with a final verdict expected by June 6th, although Turicchi hinted at a potential postponement until the end of June.

Recent reports from Corriere della Serra suggest a prospective revision in the ownership structure, potentially reducing Lufthansa’s stake to 19.9% while bolstering the Ministry of Economy and Finance’s share to 80.1%. While this approach might circumvent notification requirements, it could curtail ITA Airways’ ability to fully leverage the commercial and industrial synergies offered by Lufthansa.

Related: EU Antitrust Regulators Warn Lufthansa’s Bid for ITA Airways Stake Threatens Competition

Despite the uncertainties surrounding the merger, Turicchi reaffirmed his confidence in the consolidation during a press briefing at ITA Airways’ headquarters in Rome Fiumicino. “There is no plan B; let’s move forward with Lufthansa,” he emphasized, underscoring the steadfast commitment from both the Treasury and Lufthansa in exploring solutions. “There is no plan B because we strongly believe in plan A,” Turicchi stated, as reported by CH Aviation.

On March 25th, the European Commission informed Lufthansa and the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance of its preliminary stance, highlighting concerns that the proposed joint control of ITA Airways could potentially hinder competition and escalate fares on certain routes to and from Italy.

Source: CH Aviation