German flag carrier Lufthansa indicated on Friday that it was hopeful of signing a deal with the Italian government to acquire a stake in ITA Airways within days. The revelation came less than a week after Lufthansa was granted an extension to hold exclusive talks over the takeover of the Rome-based carrier.
At a press conference in Delhi, Lufthansa’s head of global markets and network, Harry Hohmeister, said ongoing talks with Italy’s finance ministry were going “very good”, although negotiations were ongoing.
“We will start with most probably some minority share and all the rest is still under negotiation,” Hohmeister was quoted as saying by Reuters during the new conference which was being held to announce Lufthansa’s expansion into the Indian market.
The Italian government have been on the hunt for someone to take on ITA Airways since February 2022, when the airline was officially put up for sale.
ITA Airways is currently 100 per cent owned by the Italian taxpayer, although the government wants to retain a stake in the airline in any selloff. An early joint bid between Lufthansa and European shipping group MSC was abandoned last November after the Geneva-based shipping group withdrew its support.
In January, Lufthansa announced it was going it alone for ITA Airways but that it was initially looking to acquire a minority stake in the company. Lufthansa eventually wants to absorb the whole airline into its portfolio of brands.
Lufthansa believes the Italian aviation market is ripe for expansion, saying it considers Italy to be the most important market outside of its home markets and the USA.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.