Alitalia? Yes, no, maybe! In a few days, Lufthansa will clarify its position on the future of the former Italian flag carrier, Italian newspaper Corriere Della Sera knows. The Lufthansa Group has prepared alternatives in case a deal with Alitalia should go wrong: a possible acquisition of long-haul low-cost airline Norwegian Air and/or Hungarian low-cost airline Wizz Air.
Harry Hohmeister, board member of the Lufthansa Group told reporters that: “Lufthansa wants to control Alitalia first, then a total acquisition in the long run.”
Hohmeister confirms Lufthansa’s position on Alitalia: the airline keeps its brand name, its hub (Fiumicino) and the independence of its operations. Alitalia will then be integrated with the other Lufthansa hubs: Frankfurt, Munich, Vienna and Zurich.
If Lufthansa fully acquires Alitalia, the German airline wants to keep between 70 and 75 aircraft, but also a reduction in the number of employees. The exact numbers will be decided by the Lufthansa board led by Carsten Spohr.
However, unconfirmed by Delta Air Lines, but confirmed by the other SkyTeam member (Air France/KLM), meetings were held between the Italians and the Americans. But according to Corriere della Sera, yesterday’s Board of Directors of Ferrovie dello Stato, Italy’s State-owned railway company and Alitalia’s owner, the Alitalia dossier has not been addressed.
Carsten Spohr’s plans
Anyway, Carsten Spohr, the CEO of the Lufthansa Group, is looking to expand through further acquisitions, two sources told Corriere. If the deal with Alitalia doesn’t go through, at least two other solutions are on the table. The first: Norwegian Air’s very active long-haul low-cost network between Europe and the United States. An excellent alternative if Alitalia falls into the hands of Delta Air Lines and a good opportunity now that IAG (holding company of British Airways, Iberia, Vueling and Aer Lingus) has abandonded its intention of buying Norwegian. A second option the Lufthansa Group is looking at: Wizz Air, the Hungarian low-cost airline that has the lowest operating cost in Europe.