Lufthansa to purchase stake in ITA Airways from Italian authorities

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Beleaguered Italian flag carrier ITA Airways has discovered a brand new proprietor.

The Lufthansa Group mentioned Thursday that it had agreed with the Italian authorities to buy a 41% stake within the state-owned airline, with choices to amass the remaining 59% in some unspecified time in the future sooner or later.

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The 325-million-euro (about $348 million) buy will see the Italian authorities make a further 250-million-euro money funding within the airline.

ITA Airways was fashioned in 2020 from the remnants of Alitalia, which the Italian authorities took over in March of 2020 after years of unsuccessful makes an attempt to discover a purchaser. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government selected to nationalize and restructure the airline, which was infamous for dropping cash.

ITA started flying in October 2021. The airline reported a loss of round 486 million euros ($527 million) in 2022 — its first full yr of operations — regardless of incomes revenues of 1.58 billion euros from roughly 10.1 million passengers carried.

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Lufthansa — which owns a wide range of European airways, together with Swiss, Eurowings, Austrian Airways and Brussels Airways — positioned a bid for ITA earlier this yr to attempt to acquire extra market share in Italy. The Germany-based consortium beforehand struggled to construct a foothold in Italy, squeezed out by competitors from Alitalia (or ITA) and its SkyTeam companions, together with low-cost carriers like EasyJet and Ryanair.

“As a part of the Lufthansa Group household, ITA can develop right into a sustainable and worthwhile airline, connecting Italy with Europe and the world,” Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr mentioned in an announcement. “On the identical time, this funding will allow us to proceed our development in certainly one of our most necessary markets.”

The settlement, which is able to should be authorised by the European Union, will see Lufthansa assume management over ITA’s operations even with the preliminary minority possession stake.

“Upon closing of this transaction, ITA Airways and Lufthansa Group are anticipated to right away begin their cooperation at a business and operational stage,” the German group mentioned in its announcement. “As a community airline, ITA will intently cooperate with Lufthansa Group to learn from group synergies.”

What this implies for frequent flyers and factors and miles collectors stays unclear. Lufthansa is a member of Star Alliance, whereas ITA, like Alitalia earlier than it, is part of SkyTeam. It’s not clear if or when ITA would go away SkyTeam, be part of Star Alliance, or in any other case combine with Lufthansa’s Miles & Extra frequent flyer program.

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