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Lufthansa makes a stand-alone bid for Italy’s ITA

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Lufthansa confirmed yesterday that it has submitted an offer to the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance to acquire ITA.

ITA is the ‘reborn’ Alitalia, although the airline is not currently operating on the scale of its predecessor. Having been through numerous bailouts, at huge cost to Italian taxpayers, it seems that the Government may be close to seeing the back of its problem child.

Lufthansa has proposed to purchase a minority stake in ITA in the short term – rumoured to be 40% – but with an option to acquire the remainder at a future date.

Lufthansa makes a stand-alone bid for Italy's ITA

If the offer made yesterday is accepted, the Government would enter into a period of exclusivity with Lufthansa Group to reach a binding agreement.

Lufthansa is now bidding alone, as its original partner – shipping group MSC – has backed out. An Air France-backed bid also seems to have faded away.

If Lufthansa succeeds in acquiring ITA, it is virtually certain that the airline with leave SkyTeam and join Star Alliance. The airline would join Lufthansa’s Miles & More loyalty scheme.

Anyone who got ITA elite status via a match from their British Airways Executive Club card in 2022 could soon find themselves with Star Alliance status.

You can read more on the Lufthansa website here.

Comments (47)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • FCP says:

    Lufthansa do not operate First class to Dubai. Only Swiss do.

  • BJ says:

    I really like the ITA livery in the main photo but I think they’re ditching it for simpler predominantly white sustainability livery. I’ve no idea if the simpler livery itself is more sustainable but if it is, that’s ultimately a good thing too.

    • mnlbay says:

      Probably more an economic way

    • Nate1309 says:

      White paint saves fuel as it’s physically lighter. Pigments add weight. It saves a lot of money and emissions in a year.

    • BJ says:

      Thanks both. Just read about it and diggerence between white and dark paint can be equivalent of carrying up to 8 pax so very significant in tve life of a plane. Also mentions white less easily damaged by tge sun.

  • Nancy says:

    “Anyone who got ITA elite status via a match from their British Airways Executive Club card in 2022 could soon find themselves with Star Alliance status.” – I very much doubt that. By the time the acquisition gets all the approvals and gets finalised (including system integrations), the status matches will have expired for most people.

    • BJ says:

      Yes, could be talking years, not months. Other airlines will presumably try to throw a spanner in the works too.

  • Dev says:

    And the wonderful EU will allow Lufty to gobble up another mainland European airline?

    • JDB says:

      Yes, it would be quite extraordinary for this to be allowed on competition grounds such that the LH group would ultimately control the flag carriers of Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Italy but that doesn’t mean it won’t be allowed. Perhaps that will make it easier for IAG to buy TAP and in the end probably Air Europa.

      • Rob says:

        Ryanair is, by far, the biggest airline in Italy.

      • ChrisBCN says:

        I don’t think it would be extraordinary at all – you need to look at the routes that would go from competition to no competition – I suspect very few, and they could easily be divested as part of the conditions. And it’s also trivial for ryanair, wizz, easyJet and others to add new routes if they see competition reduced and opportunities – there’s very few barriers to entry for several airlines thanks to EU-wide operating licences.

        • Charles Martel says:

          You says its trivial but are there spare aircraft and pilots for new routes?

    • Save East Coast Rewards says:

      Star Alliance does seem to have too much control over central/eastern Europe. Without ITA (and Aeroflot!) I think SkyTeam only has Czech Airlines and they really don’t count any more as they’re in such bad shape they only operate one route currently and oneworld just has Finnair. The last thing we need is Lufthansa taking over another airline in that region.

  • AJA says:

    Didn’t Lufthansa have an Italian airline previously? What happened to that airline? Lufthansa should not be allowed to buy ITA on the basis that it wasn’t able to operate that other airline successfully. Not that this will be considered, as far as I can tell the Italian government just want to be rid of the problem. Not sure why Italy has such bad luck with its airlines – they always seem to be loss making.

    • Rob says:

      LH still has Air Dolomoti. Air Italy was closed down.

      • Save East Coast Rewards says:

        Lufthansa had Lufthansa Italia for a while (bmi used to operate some of the flights for it!) and that failed. They were also a partner with Air One which eventually became part of Alitalia’s second incarnation. Air Dolomiti is quite niche routes although it does BLQ-MUC which I’m tempted to try out at some point

        Air Italy was a BA/Avios partner part owned by Qatar so had nothing to do with Lufthansa

      • AndyC says:

        *Air Dolomiti😬

    • JDB says:

      The biggest airlines in Italy are Easyjet and Ryanair and very profitable there. It’s only the state controlled Alitalia that suffered from state ownership that couldn’t make money for all the usual reasons.

      • ChrisBCN says:

        So Lufthansa buying ITA could actually create a third strong competitor then?

        • Rob says:

          The other thing with Italy is that it is leisure driven compared to most European countries. This creates a higher level of price sensitivity which potentially removes some competition concerns.

          As Michael O’Leary reminded everyone in his press event on Tuesday, it is impossible for any airline to undercut Ryanair on price due to its cost base. You either run away from the markets it enters or you have to compete in another way.

          • AJA says:

            Interesting comment by O’Leary. Your comment about Italy being very leisure driven suggests that Italians don’t fly on business. I learn something new every day. And the two biggest airlines in Italy (Ryanair and EasyJet) don’t operate long haul (not counting Israel) which makes me wonder why ITA doesn’t manage to compete successfully purely on longhaul or is it because there’s too much competition from foreign carriers? In which case is there an argument for saying that perhaps Italy shouldn’t have a “national” airline at all?

          • Abdul says:

            Possibly it’s all “leisure based” due to the political decision to base AZ in FCO and not MXP? Pax should really be connecting in MIL and not MIL pax connecting in FCO. It would be like LH ignoring reality and moving their ops to BER from FRA.

          • Bagoly says:

            @Abdul: excellent point. Although personally I’d like to see LH do some long haul from BER!

          • Bagoly says:

            Given the unionisation problem you are right that they probably can’t afford a national airline.
            Like Hungary: Malev went bust (properly).
            Next day Wizz (the Hungarians who can manage an airline) and Ryanair moved 5 ‘planes each to Budapest airport.
            Now if you want to fly longhaul from Budapest you have to change in LHR/CDG/FRA etc.
            If Lufthansa buys ITA, then how does Delta/Skyteam fly an American to Naples/Vennice/Bari – presumably via Paris/Amsterdam.

  • KP says:

    Best deal to Dubai is on Finnair from London for around £1025

  • Michael C says:

    Sorry in advance for slightly lengthy Hilton divvy query!

    1) I’m looking at a Hilton that is 60k a night. I have 140k in my account. As I don’t have enough for 5 nights, when I do a provisional booking, it logically shows “120k + $$$$”.
    If I buy 50k + 50k in the sale, should it show me “5 nights = 300k but 5-4-4 = 240k” (my new balance), or will I need the 300k in the account to start with in order to see that 5-4-4 offer?
    2) Is it still the case that points bookings do NOT incur resort fee? Did a partial faux booking for 2 nights but the resort fee still appeared on the page prior to the actual “book” button.
    3) If I buy the 50k + 50k on the offer now, could I buy 30k+30k later? (I’m currently being offered 80k + 80k)?


    • Rob says:

      If it’s 60k per night (and check each night individually to be sure, Hilton may just show 60k as the first night price) then you only need 240k for 5 nights. Not 300k. This assumes you have at least Silver status in Hilton Honors. If you are Blue you can’t get 5-4-4.

      No resort fees on redemptions.

      You can buy another 30k at any point in 2023, plus whatever bonus or discount is running at the time.

      • NorthernLass says:

        You should be able to see the points night for each night by clicking on the “i” icon or “price breakdown” (can’t remember exactly). It’s worth checking if your dates are flexible as it’s 5th night free, not the cheapest, and I have seen hotels where the pricing varies between, e.g., 50k pn night and 27k pn over the 5 nights!

        • Michael C says:

          Brilliant advice @NorthernLass / @Rob , cheers!
          This is for Disney Springs, so I’m following your cost-cutting
          tips, Anna!

          • NorthernLass says:

            You will need them in the USA just now …
            My best tip is check whether there is an Aldi nearby, lol.

          • Yorkie Aid says:

            There are at least two Aldi stores within an easy drive from Disney Springs.

          • Wally1976 says:

            If this is the DoubleTree Suites at Disney Springs then there was definitely no resort fee (on points bookings) when we stayed in August. Just watch out for the breakfast costs even if you have the Gold discount (tips expected!).

  • vlcnc says:

    Not sure if others got this but myself and my partner had our ITA Volare Executive renewed for another year without doing anything – got an email from ITA stating our ‘gift’.

    • Rob says:

      I got this too although someone also told me that if you check online it hasn’t actually been done ….

    • KP says:

      Yes same. I thought hfp would cover it

      • Rob says:

        What is there to say?! If you got it, you got it.

        • Miles. OnPoint says:

          Their IT is pretty shoddy (not that BA are much better), the Android app for ITA now doesn’t let you log into your account (although you can via the web). Reportedly many partner airlines still refusing lounge access to ITA status holders too..

          • vlcnc says:

            Yeah I suspect this is why it hasn’t updated – their website is all over the place. Suspect after Jan it will update, will email them if not as we do use them.

          • Miles.OnPoint says:

            Update: My ITA Club Premium status is now showing as being valid until 31st January 2024.

          • vlcnc says:

            I just checked, mine too!

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