Lufthansa and Ita Merger on Hold: EU Antitrust Investigators Review Possible Monopoly Concerns

By Eleanor Harrison Mar27,2024
Ita and Lufthansa’s marriage set to face challenges in Brussels

The EU Commission is set to release new communication regarding the purchase of Ita by Lufthansa in the coming days, possibly as early as next week. The EU antitrust investigation into this operation, which began on 23 January, is set to conclude on 6 June. There have been discussions around possible objections that could be raised by EU institutions, particularly concerning the potential monopoly position that may be established on certain routes due to Lufthansa’s existing portfolio of airlines.

Low-cost carriers have been eagerly waiting to see if Lufthansa and Ita will be required to sell off some valuable slots at major Italian airports, such as Fiumicino and Linate, if the merger is approved. Ryanair’s CEO, Michael O’Leary, suggested that the European Commission should approve the operation on the condition that 30% of Fiumicino’s slots are relinquished and distributed among other airlines to ensure real competition.

The agreement between the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance (Mef) and Lufthansa for the sale of an initial 41% stake in Ita for 325 million euros was made almost a year ago, in May 2023. The Minister of Economy, Giancarlo Giorgetti, has voiced frustration with the lengthy process and urged the EU institutions to move forward with the approval. Both Lufthansa’s CEO, Carsten Spohr, and the EU Competition Commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, have expressed optimism about the progress of the acquisition, despite some delays.

Overall, it seems that both parties involved in this deal are hopeful for its approval by EU institutions. However, concerns around potential monopolies and competition in European aviation sector still need to be addressed before any final decision can be made.

By Eleanor Harrison

As a content writer at newseasoning.com, I infuse flavor into words, crafting compelling stories that captivate and inform our audience. With a keen eye for detail and a passion for creativity, I strive to create content that not only engages but also inspires. Whether I'm concocting a savory blog post or whipping up a spicy product description, I pour my heart and soul into every piece I write. Join me on this flavorful journey as we explore the tantalizing world of content creation together.

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