EU green lights takeover of ITA Airways

SINGAPORE, 8 July 2024: The European Commission’s Competition Authority has approved Deutsche Lufthansa AG’s bid to acquire 41% of ITA Airways, subject to conditions.

The transaction should be completed in the fourth quarter of 2024, leading to the swift integration of the Italian airline into the Lufthansa Group. The airline is owned by the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance and, under its present ownership, has been active since 2020.

Photo credit: Lufthansa Group.

Deutsche Lufthansa AG Chief Executive Officer Carsten Spohr says: “The approval from Brussels is excellent news for ITA Airways and Lufthansa, especially for all passengers flying to and from Italy. 

“We look forward to welcoming ITA Airways and its outstanding employees as new members of our airline family soon. The decision is also a clear signal for strong European air traffic, which can successfully assert itself in global competition.”

Lufthansa Group, the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) and ITA Airways have welcomed the EU Commission’s approval under competition law. With this clearance of the competition authority, the way is now clear for the acquisition of a minority stake of 41% in ITA Airways (Italia Trasporto Aereo SpA) and the subsequent acquisition of the remaining shares by Deutsche Lufthansa AG for a capital contribution of EUR325 million, which was already agreed in May 2023. The investment will be completed through a capital increase. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2024. 

This requires both the prior implementation of the remedies negotiated with the EU Commission and the approval of other competition authorities outside the EU. Lufthansa Group and MEF have agreed to options for the acquisition of the remaining shares in ITA Airways, which can be exercised as soon as 2025.

ITA Airways will become the fifth network airline to be closely integrated with Lufthansa Group while keeping its brand name as part of the multi-hub, multi-airline, and multi-brand system successfully established by the Lufthansa Group. This will strengthen and further develop ITA Airways’ economic situation. Italy will become the Lufthansa Group’s fifth “home market”. It will then be the Lufthansa Group’s second-largest market in terms of revenue after Germany and the US. 

Flights to Bangkok

Meanwhile, ITA’s website is promoting a new service from Rome to Bangkok that will start this November with five flights weekly until the end of the winter timetable 28 March 2025.

The new route is the first ITA Airways connection between Italy and Thailand and represents one of the highlights of the upcoming 2024/2025 Winter season, alongside the Rome Fiumicino – Dubai flight inaugurating on 27 October 2024.

The Rome – Bangkok flight opened for sale on 1 July. According to the schedule, an Airbus A330neo will fly the route on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday from 16 November 2024 to 28 March 2025.

In the current summer season, ITA Airways operates 57 destinations, including 16 domestic, 26 international, and 15 intercontinental. The company has recently launched new nonstop flights from its Rome Fiumicino hub to Chicago (April 2024) and Toronto (May 2024), Riyadh (June 2023), and Accra (June  2023). It will inaugurate flights to Dakar on 3 July and Jeddah on 1 August  2024.

ITA Airways was founded in November 2020, started its operations on 15 October 2021 and currently has around 4,860 employees. Based in Rome, the airline carried almost 15 million passengers last year and has a modern fleet of 96 Airbus aircraft, including 23 long-haul and 73 short-haul aircraft. The hub in Rome offers ideal conditions for expanding the joint route network towards Africa and Latin America, thus providing customers with improved connections to the southern hemisphere. ITA Airways currently serves 69 destinations.

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