Alitalia: the Lufthansa hypothesis returns
From Delta Air Lines to EasyJet to Lufthansa Airline, interest in the procurement of Alitalia Airline has gone through several potential transformations since 2017.
- The struggling Italian airline must be sold, but to who?
- Solutions appear to be constantly evaluated and ever-changing.
- Will Lufthansa come out the winner by staying in the game?
The Italian airline Alitalia is moving towards the sale of its assets – first to the State and then possibly to the well-known German aviation company Lufthansa.
TRANSFER TO THE GERMANS
Lufthansa returns to the track with interest in buying Alitalia which would put planes, properties, and brands in its subsidiary regional airline Cityliner. The Ministry of Economy in this way would see its credit repaid. Lastly, the German operator could move in among other partners. This could be the alternative plan on the table of Italy Prime Minster Draghi’s government, says La Repubblica and La Stampa.
Solutions are being evaluated to keep the project going, minimizing inconvenience for employees and, above all, trying on the one hand to please Europe that asks for discontinuity between old and new companies and on the other trying to put the new company on a safe and lasting path.
PLAN IN THREE DISTINCT PHASES
The plan includes three phases. The first sees Commissioner Giuseppe Leogrande as the protagonist, who could give to another company and then to the Ministry of Economy & Finance (MEF), all the assets of the old Alitalia from airplanes to buildings, to the brand, including Millemiglia points and routes, as well as a significant part of the staff. A sale of all these assets to Cityliner is envisaged. Part of the aircraft fleet; about 5,500 workers; and all flight, maintenance, and handling activities would be included.
In the second phase, Cityliner would be sold to the MEF. Once these assets and personnel have been conferred to the MEf, the Ministry of Economy could in turn entrust Cityliner with the task of restarting in a very short time given that the license is already operational. This would be an option other than the alternative of creating or using an ad-hoc company, for example, ITA – Italy Air Transport (Italia Trasporto Aereo). This newborn new company should have incorporated Alitalia into its plans of the Conte government.
The third and final step is preparatory to Lufthansa’s entry into the capital of Cityliner in the ways and percentages still to be written. The loans would then be returned to the state through Cityliner, thus satisfying Europe’s demands, while most of the employees will be safe. For now, Lufthansa is still interested.