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Lufhansa machine: The group wants to take over 41 percent of Ita Airways

Photo: Leonhard Simon / REUTERS

The EU's competition watchdogs are initially blocking Lufthansa's planned entry into the Italian airline ITA.

The EU Commission said a preliminary investigation had shown that the merger could reduce competition on some short and long routes.

So far, Lufthansa AG has not presented sufficient measures to address the concerns of the EU competition authorities.

On some routes between Italy and Central European countries, Lufthansa and ITA are in direct competition with each other with non-stop flights.

There is only limited competition from other airlines - primarily from low-cost airlines such as Ryanair.

However, these would often fly from more remote airports.

Further testing in “Phase 2”

According to the company, Lufthansa has received confirmation that the EU Commission will continue to examine the planned acquisition of shares in ITA Airways in a so-called “Phase 2”.

The company continues to assume “that the transaction will be approved after the in-depth review.”

ITA Airways is intended to become a complementary and important part of the Lufthansa Group's multi-hub system, it said.

The Lufthansa Group is "convinced that participation in ITA will have overall positive effects on competition in Italy and Europe." They reported a few weeks ago that they are in close and constructive communication with everyone involved.

The project was notified to the Commission on November 30 last year.

Accordingly, Lufthansa AG wants to take over 41 percent of ITA.

To this end, the ITA is to receive 325 million euros in equity from Lufthansa cash.

In addition, according to the agreement, Lufthansa can take over a further 49 percent of the shares under certain conditions from 2025 and later also the remaining 10 percent.

Italy's Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has already put pressure on the EU for an early "yes" to join the previously state-owned airline ITA Airways.

Finance Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti also criticized the lengthy review: "The fact that we are losing more time is not a good thing." The EU Commission must issue a decision on the procedure by June 6th, according to its information.