The EU’s interests in the merger between ITA and Lufthansa

Antitrust Concerns as Lufthansa Acquires Joint Control of Ita Airways in Italy

The European Commission has expressed concerns over the joint control acquisition of Ita Airways by Lufthansa and the Ministry of Economy and Finance (Mef). The Commission believes that this project could limit competition on certain routes in the market for passenger air transport services to and from Italy, potentially leading to increased prices or decreased service quality for customers.

The Commission’s main focus is on short-haul routes connecting Italy with Central Europe, where Lufthansa and Ita compete with direct and indirect flights, primarily against low-cost carriers like Ryanair. On long-haul routes between Italy and the United States, Canada, and Japan, the Commission sees competition between Ita and Lufthansa and its joint venture partners. They operate as a single entity in the Commission’s assessment.

Furthermore, Ita’s dominant position at Milan-Linate airport could create obstacles for competitors to offer air passenger transport services to and from the airport. The Commission aims to ensure that this transaction does not have negative effects on customers in terms of increased costs or decreased service quality. However, they acknowledge that these concerns represent a small percentage of the total routes and passengers served by both parties.

The next step in the investigation is the issuance of a Statement of Objections, where the Commission raises specific objections against the companies involved. Lufthansa and Mef have until April 26, 2024, to respond to these objections, review the Commission’s findings, and propose solutions to address competition concerns. They can submit remedies at any point during this period.

In addition to these concerns, it is worth noting that there are other products mentioned throughout this article that are unrelated to the European Union’s investigation into Lufthansa’s acquisition of joint control over Ita Airways.

Overall, it seems clear that there are serious concerns about potential competition restrictions resulting from this acquisition deal. While some may argue that larger airlines should be able to acquire smaller ones without facing antitrust scrutiny, others believe that such mergers can ultimately harm consumers by limiting choice in air travel options.

As a journalist covering this story closely, I will continue to monitor developments closely and provide updates as new information becomes available.

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