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aviation: Ita takeover: EU Commission calls on competitors to comment

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It has been apparent for several months now that the EU Commission may not approve Lufthansa’s entry into Ita Airways, which is intended to result in a complete takeover in several steps, without significant conditions. The competition authority is now calling on its competitors to comment.

Only recently, various unions made an appeal to European competition watchdogs, which simply stated that the deal should be passed as quickly as possible and with as few conditions as possible. The background is that before Lufthansa officially registered, a kind of preliminary procedure was carried out and it was leaked that the EU Commission could impose considerable requirements. For example, the surrender of take-off and land rights in transatlantic traffic from Germany, but also at the Italian airports Rome-Fiumicino and Milan-Linate on short-haul routes, was mentioned. Traffic between Italy and Germany and Italy and Switzerland in particular appears to be under close scrutiny, as there is little or no competition on many routes.

There are also a total of six routes on which there is no competition at all. These are connected to the Ita hubs Milan-Linate and Rome-Fiumicino as well as the Lufthansa hubs Frankfurt and Munich and the Swiss hub Zurich. These routes appear to be under particular attention from the EU Commission. However, it is questionable whether there are any other airlines that are interested in flying on these routes, which are already frequently used by those connecting.

The EU Commission officially announces that it is assumed that, after preliminary examination, the intended deal could fall under the so-called Merger Control Regulation. Therefore, competitors have now been given the opportunity to comment. These are the statements, the first line is probably about objections, which should be submitted to the authorities in Brussels by December 18, 2024.

The competition watchdogs must announce by January 15, 2024 whether Lufthansa’s entry into Ita Airways will be approved – possibly subject to conditions – or whether an in-depth review procedure will be initiated. This had a deadline of three months. Most recently, the Italian carrier, which was considered financially weak, was provided with an art bridging loan by the Italian government.

Lufthansa initially intended to enter as a minority shareholder with 41 percent. The plan is to increase 90 percent in 2025, provided Ita Airways manages to become profitable. The aim is for full takeover by 2033. The prerequisite for this is that economic goals agreed with the Italian government as the seller are achieved. The takeover model is based on that of Brussels Airlines, because here too Lufthansa initially entered with a minority and gradually increased the share to 100 percent.

The post Ita takeover: EU Commission calls on competitors to comment appeared first on Aviation.Direct.

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