ITA Airways is at the centre of attention in the Italian media. Indeed, the NewCo is luring the interest of increasingly more commercial partners, and not just airlines. Moreover, the airline fleet is about to become bigger and greener very shortly.
A new partner for ITA
After the interest shown by the Lufthansa Group, the Swiss shipping company MSC Group has advanced the proposal of signing a deal with the Italian Ministry of Economics and Finance (MEF), the current owner of the carrier, to buy a majority stake in ITA Airways. The president of the MSC Group, Gianluigi Aponte, has underlined that the group is going forward with the investment only if MSC will be the majority stakeholder, with the German Group Lufthansa acting just as a commercial partner.
Aponte aims to relaunch ITA Airways in the passenger and cargo markets. The group president aims to create synergies with the MSC business, which focuses on cruises and cargo services. Aponte is indeed interested in increasing the flow of cruise passengers in those cities where they can board an MSC cruiser, such as Italian cities like Rome or Venice, Miami in the U.S., and Dubai in the U.A.E. As far as cargo services are concerned, MSC stated that some of its customers need not only sea services but air services too. Therefore, the partnership would be leveraged to increase both MSC and ITA customers. The investment by the MSC Group is said to be worth €1.2-1.4 billion. For the time being, however, no information has been disclosed regarding how ITA’s capital stock would be divided between the MSC Group and Lufthansa.
In the following days, the Italian Ministry will evaluate the proposal. Should it be considered valid, ITA board of directors will be responsible for opening a negotiation with the two commercial partners. The next meeting of the ITA board is expected on January 31. Moreover, MSC and Lufthansa have requested a timespan of 90 working days to work on the proposal. During this time, ITA will not be able to negotiate the sale with other potential partners.
New, modern planes to join the fleet
Meanwhile, the ITA fleet will receive its new flagship, the A350. The delivery is expected by the end of June when the Italian carrier will receive the first 4 A350-900s. Alafco, based in Kuwait, will lease the planes. The A350s will be used for long-haul routes from Rome Fiumicino. Additionally, Airbus will lease two more A350s to the Italian carrier, even if a date has not been disclosed yet. In 2022, the ITA fleet will count 6 A350s and 8 ex-Alitalia A330 for long-haul routes. Moreover, the airline will operate 17 A319, 28 ex-Alitalia A320s, and 18 brand-new leased A320neo.
What do you think of a partnership with a shipping company for ITA Airways? Let us know in the comment below!