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ITA-Lufthansa on a roller coaster

To have free access from Brussels they sacrifice long-haul flights to North America

The marriage between the national carrier ITA Airways and the German Lufthansa is a roller coaster ride. The European Competition Commission will deliver its verdict on the wedding by the scheduled date of July 4. To overcome the obstacle and obtain the green light from Brussels, the two airlines have proposed further sacrifices on long-haul connections from Rome-Fiumicino to North America.

At the moment we need to wait for the end of the European elections and the reorganization of the offices with the new appointments. In particular, there could also be the entrustment of the European Competition Commission to a new leader, with Margrethe Vestager who could leave her position, which began ten years ago (November 1st, 2014). This demonstrates the political sensitivity that characterizes the dossier, which could make it necessary to "push" national governments to mitigate European rigidity.

A rejection of the ITA-Lufthansa marriage would be destined to cause a stir. To date, the two airlines have managed to resolve differences with Brussels on airport slots at Milan-Linate airport and on the sale of some European routes to rival companies (easyJet, Volotea and Wizz Air). Now the game is played on the routes between Italy and North America.

To convince Brussels, the German company, led by CEO Carsten Spohr, offered the following: open intercontinental routes to competing airlines; avoid increasing ticket prices; freeze for two years the entry of ITA into the United-Lufthansa-Canada Airlines joint venture (especially on flights from Rome to Chicago, Washington, San Francisco and Toronto). 

On the same topic, see also the article published by AVIONEWS.

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AVIONEWS - World Aeronautical Press Agency