Major airlines Delta Airlines, Air France-KLM, and Lufthansa expressed their interest in Italy’s new flagship airline ITA Airways, by recently placing bids to own a majority stake of the airline.
ITA Airways is currently state-owned by the Italian government. It is a reasonably new carrier, as it only started operations five months ago after Alitalia went out of business due to bankruptcy.
The interested bidders
The number of interested parties sets the stage for a potential bidding battle for ITA Airways.
Delta Airlines (DL), Air-France-KLM and, another undisclosed entity teamed up to express a joined interest in a majority stake in ITA Airways. The three filed an “Express of Interest” (EOI) document and it was presented to the Italian Ministry of Finance.
Separately, the Lufthansa Group expressed interest in purchasing a share in the Italian airline at the start of this year. The German-based airline, which is also the second-largest airline in Europe, teamed up with MSC (Mediterranean Shipping Company), a Swiss international shipping line, to file an EOI document.
Rumours indicate that Indigo Partners, an American private equity firm, is possibly another interested party who issued an EOI. They are involved with Wizz Air already.
A spokesperson for Delta Airlines said that the U.S airline had regular contact with ITA management, but declined to comment further on reports that DL and Air-France-KLM are interested in bidding for a stake in the new Italian carrier:
Delta has a longstanding history with the former Alitalia and has created a partnership with ITA Airways which Delta is committed to strengthening.
Air France-KLM, a Franco-Dutch airline headquartered in France, declined to comment, opting to reiterate that it was committed to deepening cooperation with ITA. This stems from the fact that it was seen to be a potential partner for Alitalia when it was operating, but nothing came of the rumours.
This news comes as only a week ago Italy’s audit court approved a government decree which detailed plans to sell stakes in ITA Airways. This decision paved the way for the carrier to give potential buyers, such as the airlines and companies mentioned above, access to crucial data on the company that’ll help them in making their decisions.
ITA only took over from Alitalia in October 2021, but it seems a significant change is developing quickly. In January, we reported on early news regarding ITA Airways’ hunt for international partners.
What do you think of the changes facing ITA Airways?