ITA Airways looking to advance deal with Lufthansa

ITA Airways is considering pushing forward its agreement with Lufthansa
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With ITA Airways and the newly-elected Italian government exploring options to help the airline to survive the next few months, they are currently looking to firm up an agreement with Lufthansa Group. The German airline group remains one of the few parties interested in acquiring the ailing Italian airline. 

At the very least, Italian lawmakers are looking to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Lufthansa, according to Correre della Serra, an Italian daily, citing government sources. International shipping company MSC has pulled out of a joint venture that considered acquiring ITA Airways, but Lufthansa has remained interested in acquiring a stake, possibly a majority one, in the Rome-based company. 

Negotiating for ITA Airways 

At the heart of the issue is the question of whether Lufthansa will take the airline over completely. Alternatively, some form of Italian decision-making could be left at ITA Airways. 

An MoU remains of interest to the Italians, though, as the Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane (Italian Railways of the State, the national railway operator) might be added to the equation. Sources cited by Correre della Serra indicate that ITA Airways and Lufthansa have moved onto the next stage of these negotiations. However, since the Italian government is the owner of the former, there remains an issue of public interest and it is looking to ensure it has its say in the strategy, governance, and personnel of ITA Airways. It remains an open-ended question whether the Italian railway operator will be a stakeholder or else become something akin to an advisory company without any equity in the airline.  

Correre della Serra indicated that local lawmakers are interested in signing an agreement just in time for the last press conference of the year with Italian Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni, adding that the estimated value for ITA Airways is between €450 and €480 million ($474 and $505 million). 

Back in November 2022, the Italian government injected €400 million ($421 million) to bolster its liquidity, which was part of the €1.35 billion ($1.35 billion) funding package that was approved by the European Commission (EC). The EC gave a green light to the Italian government to dissolve Alitalia and use its parts of the now-archived airline to establish ITA Airways. With that €400 million ($421 million) injection, it now has little scope to push more capital into the Rome-based carrier. Over €700 million ($703 million) had already been tendered by that point, and the airline is eager to grow. 

Its reported aim is to expand from its current fleet of 66 aircraft to 96 by the end of 2023. However, that will not only require capital to acquire the aircraft but also to hire additional crews and other personnel necessary to serve and operate them. 

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