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Lufthansa’s tradeoffs for access to ITA Airways

By Friday, 19 April 2024 15:12

The designated date is 6 June: the new deadline by which the European Commission will evaluate Lufthansa’s proposals to earn the green light for the acquisition of ITA Airways.

Things have been dragging on for months for a marriage that would further consolidate Europe's skies, and that the German giant is confident will happen. Despite the sacrifices imposed by the EU. Yes, because Brussels is still mulling over a number of short-haul routes between Italy and Central Europe, some long-haul routes from Italy to the United States, Canada and Japan and, above all, the dominant position of ITA Airways at Milan Linate airport.

This week the Germans officially confirmed that they had presented “some potential remedies” that would address the competition concerns raised by the EU regarding the above-mentioned routes and Milan's City Airport. Solutions that Lufthansa says are “compatible with the economic reality of the highly competitive Italian air market.”

But how many and which “sacrifices” is Lufthansa willing to concede to obtain the coveted go-ahead for the ITA operation? Things are unclear, but a hint might come from what is happening – with more or less similar characteristics - at IAG which, for some time now, has been trying to acquire Air Europa. This operation has also raised EU doubts and forced the parent company of British Airways and Iberia to come to a tough compromise involving the sale to other carriers  of 40% of the flights operated in 2023 by Air Europa. With “other carriers” understood to mean companies not controlled by IAG, thus guaranteeing the continued presence of a competitor on the “incriminated” routes.

Now it’s over to Lufthansa-ITA Airways: the clock is ticking.

Mariella CattaneoMariella Cattaneo
Journalist

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