Lufthansa chief executive Carsten Spohr is reportedly flying to Roma to finalize a deal to acquire a stake in the Italian flag carrier ITA Airways, according to the country’s Economy Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti, who was quoted by the Ansa news agency.
Talks between Lufthansa and Italy’s Ministry of Economy over the possible privatisation of ITA Airways have been dragging on for months, and Lufthansa was recently granted an extension to continue exclusive talks with the government.
Italian media reported on Wednesday that a deal had all but agreed and that the two sides were expected to make a formal announcement on Thursday. If those reports are true, Lufthansa will initially acquire a minority 40% stake in ITA Airways with a view to increasing its holding in the airline in the future.
Under the reported deal, Lufthansa will be paying between €320 and €330 million for the 40% stake in the loss-making Italian flag carrier. In early 2026, Lufthansa will then be able to acquire a majority stake in ITA Airways for a further €500 million leaving the Italian government with a minority holding of between 5 and 10%.
Other sources have claimed the initial stake could cost Lufthansa as little as €200 million.
ITA Airways was born out of the ashes of the defunct Italian airline Alitalia which finally shuttered in October 2021 as part of an arrangement by the Italian government to wipe the carrier’s debts while ensuring that Italy wasn’t left without a flagship airline.
Despite the dominance of low-cost carriers like Ryanair and easyJet in Italy’s domestic and Intra-European markets, Lufthansa still sees a lot of potential for a full-service long-haul airline operating out of Italy.
Lufthansa initially entered into a pact with the European shipping giant MSC to acquire a stake in ITA Airways, but the Swiss-based company backed out after months of back-and-forth negotiations came to nothing.
Other airlines that had shown an interest in ITA Airways include Delta and the Air France-KLM Group, but Lufthansa managed to win an exclusivity deal last year.
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.