Lufthansa-Ita, letter with objections arriving from the EU

She is expected from Brussels today letter containing the objections relating toacquisition of a 41% stake in Ita Airways by Lufthansa. The letter sent by the Competition office of the European Commission will indicate the issues to be resolved for the privatization of the national airline, foreseen in the commitments undertaken by the Mef with the EU.

The letter

The Brussels letter it will expose the knots that need to be untied to finalize the sale, which could even fail if the conditions proved too onerous for the Germans. Apparently the The main issue concerns the routesespecially those a medium-long rangewhere the position of Lufthansa and Ita would be dominant.

Then there is the problem of slots on Linate and Fiumicino held by Lufthansa and Ita: according to Ryanair founder Machael O'Leary, approximately 30% of the slots in Rome and Milan should be left to the competition (Ryanair, easyJet, Wizz Air).

The letter arrives a couple of months after the start of phase two of the investigation by the European Commission, which should be concluded by the beginning of June.

Vestager's reassurances

“We are currently looking at this acquisition,” the European Competition Commissioner recently said Margrethe Vestageradding “I believe it is important to ensure that the process take its coursethere is a lot of data involved and we need to work very closely with the companies in particular on issues “related to competitiveness”.

The number one competitor then explained that it is evaluating whether the two companies “would operate on the same routes” and whether, in some cases, “one should stop these routes”, in order not to put “competitiveness at risk”, not to raise prices and not to lower the quality of service. “We will have to see which routes overlap, which company will give up,” she concluded.

Giorgetti's obvious anger

A certain nervousness was evident from the Minister of Economy over the weekend Giancarlo Giorgetti, some stated that Brussels wants to block i project to create a “European champion” of air transport.

“We have an airline called Ita – it was called Alitalia -. We said: 'let's try to build a European champion that can compete with the international giants'. For ten months we have been fighting with Europe which does not allow us to do this”, said Giorgetti speaking at the convention of the Identity and Democracy party “Winds of Change” in Rome.

The superficial optimism at Lufthansa

Despite optimism revealed by the CEO of Lufthansa Carsten Spohr Last week, the atmosphere in Frankfurt was hot for a transaction that was taking longer than it should have. The negotiations with Brussels have taken far too long and the operation is becoming less advantageous every minute.

Spohr admitted he doesn't know when the decision will be made, but the hope is to close before the summer seasona crucial moment for airlines due to the high season, given that Ita is forced to maintain commercial agreements with Air France-KLM and with the SkyTeam alliance until the day of the move to Lufthansa.