Yet another “Euro-madness” risks breaking the Ita-Lufthansa pact

The marriage in the skies between Ita Airways and Lufthansa really doesn't happen. If the indiscretion published today by Corriere della Sera were confirmed, in fact, yet another obstacle posed by the European Antitrust could be the tombstone for the wedding. In practice, the latest “Euro-madness” of the Brussels technicians to give the green light to the union is that the Italian carrier never enters the transatlantic alliance that the German group has with United Airlines and Air Canada. A request which, if accepted, would literally clip the wings of Ita Airways which would not be able to relaunch itself on international routes, the most important from an economic point of view. To give another example in the transport sector, it is as if to go by train from Milan to Rome, Trenitalia passengers had to get off in Florence and take Italo to the capital, to respect the competition…

We are still discussing how to remedy the competition problems, as we do in any case” replied the executive vice-president of the European Commission Margrethe Vestanger, certainly not a supporter of marriage in heaven. “When we have competition problems it's because there is a risk that consumers will have to pay higher prices or not have the same choice of frequencies that they might want. So the discussion is ongoing and we have no conclusions yet.”

Yet joint ventures between carriers are commonplace and serve to keep full planes traveling even on long-haul flights. In addition to Lufthansa, in fact, the European companies Air France and KLM also have an agreement in the States with Delta Airlines, while British Airways and Iberia are allied with American Airlines. Natural, therefore, that even our small carrier, recently reborn, needs to enter into an international joint venture to fly long distances.

According to data from the Cirium platform, 80% of tickets sold this year for connections between Europe and the United States were booked on one of the three alliances between EU and American carriers. For Vestanger this is an excessive number which must be reduced to increase competition on the routes. To the detriment, however, of Ita Airways which is not even present in these joint ventures, but which needs it to relaunch itself and marry the Germans.

The EU verdict, however, is expected on July 4th, but it seems to be understood that the “remedies” proposed by Lufthansa to merge Ita Airways are not considered sufficient by Brussels.