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EU approves with riders Lufthansa's purchase of Italian airline ITA

Robert Besser
6 Jul 2024

MILAN, Italy: The European Commission has approved Lufthansa's acquisition of Italian airline ITA, subject to conditions designed to protect competition.

Italian Finance Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti hailed the deal as "historic."

Lufthansa will invest 325 million euros ($350 million) to acquire a 41 percent stake in ITA, formerly Alitalia, from the Italian government, aiming for full control by 2033 with a total investment of 829 million euros.

The commission approved the deal after a year-long investigation, setting conditions to ensure fair competition. The merged company must allow rival airlines to launch non-stop flights between Rome or Milan and central European airports, open long-haul routes between Italy and the United States and Canada to competitors, and allocate slots at Milan's Linate airport to other airlines.

Giorgetti stated that the deal will liberate the Italian government from the financial burden of supporting the loss-making company, which the state most recently took over in 2021.

Previously, as Alitalia, the airline was in and out of bankruptcy and was once controlled by Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airlines.

"And so finishes the era of state aid,'' Giorgetti said at a press conference in Rome.

He added that the Lufthansa deal will enable ITA to develop its routes in the interest of the Italian economy, with Rome's Leonardo Da Vinci Airport serving as a hub for routes to North America, Asia, and Africa, which are crucial for tourism.

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