DALLAS — Global logistics firm MSC announced to the Italian Government that it was no longer pursuing any possibility of investing in ITA Airways (AZ). The planned investment was an attempt by the Italian Government to privatize the new national carrier.
Despite strong competition from other European airline alliances, MSC entered a bid with Germany’s national carrier, Lufthansa (LH). MSC may be out. However, LH has shown interest in purchasing the airline.
The MCS deal would have seen a 20% stake going to MSC, while LH would be taking on majority ownership at 60%. The remaining 20% would have stayed with the Italian Ministry of Economy. Currently, the latter holds 100% control of the company.
Now the Italian government wants out.
Before ITA, Italy had Alitalia as its flag carrier. However, during the economic hardships brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Alitalia’s ownership was given to the Italian Government. By the end of 2020, the rebranding as ITA Airways had begun.
ITA currently operates an all-Airbus fleet. The narrow bodies include the likes of the Airbus A320 family and the Airbus A220-300. AZ also operates a wide-body fleet of Airbus A330-200s, and it is the first Italian carrier to operate the A350-900.
Of the five types of aircraft the airline operates, three were carried over from Alitalia and repainted. AZ has also placed orders for the A320neo family as well as new aircraft from the A330 and A220 families.
This month, the carrier was awarded a further €400m (US$402m) of funds by the Italian government, while the Mattarella administration continued to attempt to sell the state-owned carrier.
Various parties have shown interest, but the frontrunner was a consortium comprised of US investment fund Certares, Delta Air Lines (DL), and Air France-KLM.
Featured image: ITA Airways A350. Alberto Cucini/Airways