Competition Concerns Raised as Lufthansa and Italian Government Acquire Ita Airways

The EU’s interests in the merger between ITA and Lufthansa

The European Commission has issued a preliminary opinion on the joint acquisition of Ita Airways by Lufthansa and the Ministry of Economy and Finance (Mef). According to the Commission, this project could limit competition on certain routes in the market for passenger air transport services to and from Italy, potentially leading to increased prices or decreased service quality for customers.

The Commission is particularly concerned about competition on short-haul routes connecting Italy with Central Europe, where Lufthansa and Ita compete directly or indirectly against low-cost carriers such as Ryanair. On long-haul routes between Italy and the United States, Canada, and Japan, the Commission sees competition between Ita and Lufthansa and its joint venture partners as a single entity.

In addition to these concerns, Ita’s dominant position at Milan-Linate airport could create obstacles for competitors to offer air passenger transport services to and from the airport. The Commission aims to ensure that this transaction does not negatively affect customers in terms of increased costs or decreased service quality. Although these concerns represent a small percentage of the total routes and passengers served by both parties, they are still significant.

The next step in the investigation is the issuance of a Statement of Objections, where the Commission raises specific objections against Lufthansa, Mef, and Ita Airways involved in this acquisition. They have until April 26, 2024, to respond to these objections

Leave a Reply