Lufthansa Group and the Italian government have formally notified the European Commission over a deal for the German carrier to take a minority stake in ITA Airways.
Under an agreement struck in May, Lufthansa plans to plans to acquire a 41% stake in the Italian national carrier – with an option to ultimately acquire majority control.
Lufthansa chief executive Carsten Spohr had previously cited ITA’s relatively low share of the Italian market as a reason why competition issues should not be significant and said he hoped clearance could come from before year-end.
However, reports subsequently emerged at September’s G20 summit of Italian prime minister Giorgia Meloni’s frustrations over the Commission’s approach, and asked about progress during a third quarter results call earlier this month, Spohr said it was in ”close and daily constructive dialogue” with the Commission to address potential competition issues ahead of submitting formal notification.
Italy’s finance ministry on 30 November said it has now formally notified European competition regulators about the planned transaction.
ITA was established three years ago as a successor to Alitalia and took the latter’s place in the SkyTeam alliance. The carrier would move into Star Alliance and provide Lufthansa with a southern European base at Rome to complement the group’s existing hubs at Frankfurt, Munich, Zurich, Vienna and Brussels.