The European Commission has said that it is concerned about Lufthansa’s proposed partial acquisition of Italy’s ITA Airways and its effect on competition in its preliminary view of the deal. 

The commission opened an investigation into the acquisition in January 2024 and had already expressed concerns that it could reduce competition in the European passenger air transport market but has now formally notified Lufthansa and its partner the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF), which currently owns ITA after the collapse of predecessor Alitalia, of its view. 

A statement said that the investigation had brought up concerns that the acquisition could reduce competition on short-haul routes from Italy to Central Europe and long-haul routes between Italy and the US, Canada, and Japan. 

Additionally, the commission said it was concerned that the deal would “create or strengthen ITA’s dominant position” at Milan-Linate airport and make it harder for their competitors to provide services from the airport. 

In response, Lufthansa said it would be presenting remedies to the commission’s concerns ahead of the 26 April deadline and remained confident that ITA would become “part of the Lufthansa group family this year”, a sentiment echoed by MEF. 

First announced in January 2023, Lufthansa’s proposed €325m ($351m) acquisition of the Italian airline, which is currently owned by MEF after the collapse of predecessor Alitalia, would see the German airline group gain a 41% stake in the flag carrier. 

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While the commission’s concerns about the partial acquisition will may temporarily delay the closure of the deal, it is unlikely to be a lasting blow to the deal which could re-emerge with similar concessions to Korean Air’s acquisition of Asiana Airlines, which was recently approved by the EU after the Korean flag airline agreed to give up parts of the business.