Lufthansa’s position has not changed: it wants to invest in Alitalia.
Last week I wrote about the latest plan in Italy to re-nationalize Alitalia. Fulfilling a campaign promise, the recently-elected government is essentially saying Alitalia is as part of Italy as espresso and pizza and will therefore always be with us.
Even more interesting is the government’s stated wish to build an airline of “Italo character”. The implication is clear: Air Italy, which Qatar Airways holds a 49% ownership stake in, is not Italian enough. The new Italian plans hopes that by attracting a minority investor, Alitalia can become “a competitive national carrier”. That’s Italy’s Minister for Labour and Industry Giuseppe di Maio:
We wrote it clearly in the government contract and now we are following exactly that road: Neither rescue, nor survival, but a re-launch within a strategic transport plan that makes Alitalia a competitive national carrier.
Stop laughing for just one moment…Lufthansa still wants in.
Lufthansa: No Problem With Government Plan
Asked about the latest government plan, a Lufthansa spokesman stated:
We can imagine further talks on this basis. We have always emphasized that the Italian market is very important for us and that we are interested in a restructured Alitalia.
And why not? If Lufthansa can rely on the Italian government to bailout the carrier while it reaps the reward of feeding traffic to its longhaul network, I’d be interested as well. There is that small matter of EU law…look for a follow-up post on that. Lufthansa’s takeover plan remains unchanged from last fall.
> Read More: Lufthansa Wants to Make Rome Fiumicino a Hub
But Lufthansa must enter further negotiations with eyes wide open. The Italian airline market is not for the faint of heart.
image: Felix Gottwald / Wikimedia Commons