New owners soon for Italy’s ITA? Government hopes to agree sale by end of June

Davide Calabresi /

Italy is hoping to sell ITA Airways, the successor to flag carrier Alitalia, by the end of June 2022, according to a government minister.  

Bids for the Italian airline are due in by May 23, economy minister Daniele Franco said on May 10, 2022 in comments reported by news agency Reuters.  

ITA started operations in October 2021 but has made no secret of the fact that it wants to be taken over, previously describing itself as a “pretty bachelorette”. 

The airline is currently owned by the Italian government, which wants to retain a minority stake after a sale.  

Economy minister Franco confirmed the identities of the three bidders interested in ITA: 

  • Shipping and logistics company MSC, which has teamed up with German airline group Lufthansa 
  • Delta and Air France-KLM, with support from US fund Certares, 
  • Low-cost carrier investor Indigo Partners, which has interests in airlines Frontier, Volaris and Wizz   

 “We will examine the three offers in a transparent way, there is no decision on our part at present,” Reuters quoted Franco as saying.  

The Italian government struggled to sell Alitalia for years before the loss-making airline finally ceased operations. However, the slimmed-down ITA seems to have garnered more interest from prospective investors.  

MSC was the first company to declare an interest in ITA. It is seeking a majority stake and Lufthansa (LHAB) (LHA) is considering taking a minority stake as part of the joint bid with MSC.   

ITA started operations with a fleet of 52 aircraft and expects this to rise to 78 in 2022 and then to 105 aircraft by the end of 2025. It is focusing operations on Rome Fiumicino (FCO) and Milan Linate (LIN) and hopes to operate 89 routes to 74 destinations by 2025, up from 59 routes to 44 destinations when it commenced operations.  

In its first few months of operations, from October 15 to December 31, 2022, ITA recorded revenue of €86 million ($91 million) and an EBIT loss of €170 million ($179 million). 


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