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Lufthansa/ITA deal is official


The long-awaited deal for Germany's Lufthansa to take over operations of Italy's state-owned ITA Airways is official; the announcement came Thursday after months of negotiations and delays.

Lufthansa will pay about €325 million for 41% of ITA's shares, with an option to buy the rest later; Italy will invest another €250 million in the airline as a sort of farewell package for the carrier, which has consistently lost money since it started in October 2020, replacing bankrupt Alitalia. The deal requires final approval by the EU, but is not expected to have problems getting that.

Although it will be a minority owner, the deal gives Lufthansa full operational control of the airline. Despite its losses, Lufthansa's CEOO Carsten Spohr believes that  "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," one where rivals, especially discount carriers, have dominated.

Among the unanswered questions:

  • Lufthansa and other airlines it controls, including Austrian, Swiss, Eurowings and Brussels Airlines are Star Alliance members, while ITA is a SkyTeam member, as was Alitalia. Will it change alliances?
  • ITA Airways bought the Alitalia name, logos and other branding in the bankruptcy sale in 2020. Will ITA's new owner opt to use the well-known Alitalia branding, or will it stick with ITA?

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