Reports from Italian newspaper Il Messaggero suggest that Lufthansa (LHAB) (LHA) may be looking to take a 15% – 40% stake in ITA Airways.
Ongoing negotiations indicate that ITA Airways could join forces with Lufthansa (LHAB) (LHA) by summer 2022.
ITA Airways’ management has been keen to cooperate with Lufthansa (LHAB) (LHA) as a potential partner. On November 17, 2021 the airline’s chairman of the board of directors, Alfredo Altavilla spoke to German business newspaper Handelsblatt, and emphasized the carrier’s desire to form mutual ties with larger players in the market.
The move could see ITA join the likes of Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines and SWISS, which all operate under The Lufthansa Group and provide the airline with the backing it needs to expand its operations.
Italy is Lufthansa’s (LHAB) (LHA) second-largest international market following the US. However, the alliance between Air France-KLM and Delta Air Lines is Lufthansa’s (LHAB) (LHA) biggest threat in the Italian market. By joining forces with Alitalia’s successor, Lufthansa (LHAB) (LHA) has the potential to retain its foothold in the market and challenge the dominance of its competitors.
ITA, which launched in October 15, 2021, hopes to redefine the former flag-carrier’s loss-making reputation and promises to be “competitive and sustainable”.
ITA Airways kick-started its operation with ambitious fleet and route targets for the future. The carrier began with a network of 44 destinations and 59 routes, which it intends to increase to 74 destinations and 89 routes by 2025.
After commencing its operation with 52 aircraft, the airline aims to operate a fleet of 78 aircraft in 2022 and up to 105 aircraft in 2025.
In December 2021, the carrier firmed up an order of 28 Airbus aircraft, including both wide and narrowbody aircraft.
ITA Airways is set to take delivery of seven A220s, 11 A320neos and 10 A330neos, and has plans to lease a fleet of A350s as part of its fleet modernization.