Lufthansa to Obtain Minority Stake in ITA Airways

Lufthansa to Obtain Minority Stake in ITA Airways

DALLAS – After months of speculation, a deal has finally been agreed for the Lufthansa Group to purchase 41% of ITA Airways (AZ), subject to approval from the relevant authorities.

The Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance (Ministero dell’Economia e delle Finanze, MEF) gave the green light for the deal, which will see Lufthansa pay €325m (US$350m) through a capital increase. The Italian finance ministry will also inject an additional €250m (US$268m) into the airline.

Lufthansa will also have the option of purchasing the remaining shares of ITA at a later date. In a statement, LH said that the ‘purchase price for the remaining shares will be based on the business development of ITA Airways.’

Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr. Photo: Lufthansa

“A Win-Win Situation”

Carsten Spohr, Chief Executive Officer of Deutsche Lufthansa AG, said, “Today’s agreement will lead to a win-win situation for Italy, ITA Airways and Lufthansa Group. And it is good news for Italian consumers and for Europe, because a stronger ITA will invigorate competition in the Italian market. As a young company with a modern fleet, and with its efficient and expanding hub in Rome, ITA is a perfect fit for Lufthansa Group. In Milan, ITA serves a strong catchment area which also offers potential for growth.

“As part of the Lufthansa Group family, ITA can develop into a sustainable and profitable airline, connecting Italy with Europe and the world. At the same time, this investment will enable us to continue our growth in one of our most important markets.”

Member of the Lufthansa Group. Image: Lufthansa Group.

Part of the Group

ITA becomes the fifth network airline to join the Lufthansa Group of carriers along with Austrian Airlines (OS), Eurowings (EW), SWISS (LX) and Brussels Airlines (SN). According to LH, the Italian market is its ‘most important market outside the Group’s home base countries and the United States.’

The Rome-based airline was established in 2020 out of the ashes of the beleaguered Alitalia. Currently, ITA has a fleet of 66 Airbus aircraft, serving 64 destinations: 21 domestic, 33 international and ten intercontinental routes.

LH will continue to develop ITA’s Rome hub, focusing on Africa and Latin America, ‘offering its customers an improved connectivity to the Southern hemisphere.’ Commercial and operational cooperation is expected to commence once the transaction has been closed.

Featured Image: EI-IFE ITA Airways Airbus A350-941 A359 JFK KJFK. Photo: Francesco Cecchetti/Airways.

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