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ITA-Lufthansa Merger Faces Scrutiny from European Commission

 |  May 23, 2024

The proposed merger between ITA Airways and Lufthansa is encountering significant obstacles as the European Commission scrutinizes the deal over potential competition risks. European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager expressed concerns on Thursday about the merger’s implications for the market.

Commissioner Vestager highlighted that the merger could lead to increased prices and a decrease in passenger numbers. “There is a risk that prices will go up and passenger numbers fall,” she said. The European Commission’s deadline for approval of the deal is set for July 4.

Vestager emphasized that it is now up to ITA Airways and Lufthansa to demonstrate how they will mitigate these risks. “It’s a very important merger, also for Italians who want to travel,” she added, underscoring the merger’s significance for the Italian public.

Related: Lufthansa Faces EU Antitrust Warning Over ITA Airways Stake Bid

Negotiations to secure EU approval have been progressing slowly, with various EU sources indicating to ANSA that the airlines have made limited headway despite new commitments. These concessions, including those regarding slots at Milan Linate Airport, are deemed insufficient by the EU. The Commission is reportedly seeking a more robust solution, particularly concerning long-haul routes from Rome Fiumicino to the U.S. and Canada.

The current stage of the merger process reflects a challenging path ahead for ITA Airways and Lufthansa as they strive to address the EU’s antitrust demands. As the July 4 deadline approaches, both companies must present compelling measures to alleviate competition concerns and secure the necessary approval for their merger.

Source: ANSA