By Joseph M. Calisi ©2022 All Rights Reserved
Lufthansa has long had its eyes on the Italian airports since Alitalia was in bankruptcy proceedings. About a year ago, Lufthansa was a potential suitor for the Italian national carrier until it withdrew from the process.
Now that ITA Airways has begun operations on October 15, 2021, Lufthansa has once again stuck its nose into Italian flight operations. ITA’s ordering of 28 new Airbus aircraft has raised its visibility within Europe in general.
By possibly obtaining a 40% stake in the leaner and greener fleet of the Italian air carrier, the German-based carrier would obtain access to regional airport gates as well as using Rome’s Fiumicino as a base of operations in the latter half of 2022.
Last year, the EU was demanding Alitalia give up a significant number of gates at Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino and Milan’s Linate airports. This agreement would on the surface, meet that demand. As the saying goes, with the dog come the fleas. ITA’s recent takeover of Alitalia’s membership in the SkyTeam group would have to be dissolved as well as other changes. On the other hand, it would strengthen ITA’s position in the international travel with Lufthansa as a strong partner with the Star Alliance and the possible dissolution of the codesharing agreements with Delta, Air France-KLM, and Virgin Atlantic.
An Italian carrier partnering with another major airline is not unprecedented as Alitalia partnered with Etihad at a 49% rate for 2 years before the Middle Eastern carrier dropped the partnership which sent Alitalia into the maelstrom of putting itself up for auction.
Changes within the successor of Alitalia are coming fast and furious as the future hangs in the balance.