DALLAS – The Italian Government has demanded that bidders for the new national carrier ITA Airways (AZ) improve their proposals after the country’s Economy Minister, Daniele Franco, stated they did not believe the bids were sufficient.
Italy’s caretaker Prime Minister Mario Draghi has said he wants his administration to complete the sale of the airline that took over the operations of former flag-carrier Alitalia (AZ) in October 2021.
They had initially hoped to complete a deal by the end of June.
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Global shipping company MSC, working with the Lufthansa Group, were the front runners to take control of the carrier. The duo put forward an initial bid of between €1.2bn and €1.5bn.
However, they now face a rival bid from a consortium including Air France-KLM Group, Delta Air Lines (DL), and US private equity fund Certares. US private equity group Indigo Partners which owns several low-cost carriers such as Wizz Air (W6), is also said to be interested in the troubled company.
The Italian Government will retain a minority, non-controlling stake in the initial stage. But it is hoped the sale will relieve the financial pressures it has faced since establishing the new flag carrier. AZ recently asked the Government for €400m in fresh capital, which followed €700m paid by the Treasury in 2021.
Lufthansa’s CEO Carsten Carsten Spohr has stated that his airline would be the best partner for AZ. Indeed the carrier owns many of Europe’s national airlines, including SWISS (LX) and Austrian Airlines (OS). However, Spohr has said that his company’s patience was not endless and that a deal must be completed soon.
ITA Airways recently unveiled the inside of its newly delivered flagship airliner the Airbus A350 at the Farnborough Air Show 2022. The aircraft is configured in a two-class layout, with 334 seats comprising 33 full lie-flat bed Business and 301 Economy seats.
Featured Image: ITA Airways hopes to become a dominating force in the European aviation market. Photo: Tony Bordelais/Airways