Alitalia Successor ITA Airways Wants to Join Lufthansa Group

The boss of ITA Airways, the successor airline of bankrupt Alitalia, has said he would like to see the new company being taken over by the Lufthansa Group.

Airline group

ITA Airways chairman Alfredo Altavilla detailed his future plans for the airline in an interview with German-language business newspaper Handelsblatt.

According to Mr Altavilla, becoming part of a larger airline group is the only logical choice for ITA Airways.

He told the German newspaper that it would be “the wrong choice” to remain independent as the airline “would be too small compared the three big airline groups operating in Europe”, referring to the Lufthansa Group, Air France/KLM and the International Airlines Group (IAG, the holding company which owns British Airways and Iberia among others).

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ITA Airways Alfredo Altavilla (right) being interviewed. ©Screenshot

Lufthansa

Mr Altavilla compared ITA Airways to a “beautiful bachelorette who has lots of admirers”, adding that he hopes that the Lufthansa Group will be “one of those handsome and rich admirers who might be interested in ITA Airways”.

According to the Italian airline chief, all major airlines – including those from outside of Europe – have already inquired when ITA Airways will start with its partnership processes.

Mr Altavilla said he admired the business model of the Lufthansa Group, which apart from Lufthansa exists out of the airlines Austrian, Swiss and Brussels Airlines, as it managed to “integrate other smaller companies similar to ITA Airways with great success”.

He added that he has “great respect” for Lufthansa boss Carsten Spohr. Mr Spohr himself had previously said that he would be open for a commercial partnership with the new Italian airline.

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Lufthansa planes at Frankfurt International Airport. ©Paliparan

SkyTeam

The predecessor of ITA Airways, Alitalia, was part of the SkyTeam alliance which is dominated by airlines such as Air France, KLM and Delta.

On 29th October 2021, ITA Airways announced that it had officially joined SkyTeam, but according to Mr Altavilla the deal was only concluded for one year.

If ITA Airways would become part of the Lufthansa Group, the airline would most likely be forced out of SkyTeam given that Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian and Brussels Airlines are all part of the rival Star Alliance network.

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An Alitalia Airbus A320. ©Screenshot

What is ITA Airways?

ITA Airways (full name: Italia Trasporto Aereo) is basically Alitalia in all but name. Alitalia, which was founded in 1946, was the well-known flag carrier of Italy.

After years of mismanagement and multi-million euro losses – Alitalia only reported one year of profit (1998) since its foundation and had to survive on taxpayer money and multiple bailouts – the airline finally ceased operations on 15th October 2021.

The Italian government approved the restart of the national airline under the name ITA Airways, which took over most assets of Alitalia.

ITA has however also acquired the Alitalia brand, which means that at a future point in the reorganisation process the airline may decide to revert back to the better-known name of its predecessor.

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Still from an ITA Airways commercial. ©Screenshot

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Koen

Koen works as a freelance journalist covering south-eastern Europe and is the founding father and editor-in-chief of Paliparan. As a contributor to some major Fleet Street newspapers and some lesser known publications in the Balkans, he travels thousands of miles each year for work as well as on his personal holidays. Whether it is horse riding in Kyrgyzstan’s Tian Shan mountains, exploring the backstreets of Bogotá, or sipping a glass of moschofilero in a Greek beachside taverna, Koen loves to immerse himself into the local culture, explore new places and eat and drink himself around the world.

2 thoughts on “Alitalia Successor ITA Airways Wants to Join Lufthansa Group

  • November 18, 2021 at 3:48 pm
    Permalink

    Joining SkyTeam to then say you want to be taken over by the LH Group smacks to me of disordered thinking.

    Lufthansa looked at Alitalia many times and walked away. They also had their fingers well and truly burned with Lufthansa Italia 10+ years ago but they do have probably all the Italy they need in their relationship with Air Dolomiti which is long established, feeds into LH longhaul and provides some niche services for LH.

    I think the deal would have to be amazing for LH to start being interested especially as there are already rumours of labour disputes at ITA where everything has changed and nothing has changed!

    Reply
    • November 18, 2021 at 4:22 pm
      Permalink

      Yeah, I wonder about that as well.. plus what ITA could offer to the Lufthansa group given they already have such a dominant position in Central Europe. From Milan it’s just as easy to connect in Munich or Zurich or so, and as you rightly say they have a foothold already with Air Dolomiti.

      It could be perhaps just a bluff in order to attract some investment from other companies, playing out different parties against each other.

      Reply

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