Elections in Italy may influence ITA Airways auction

Current government wants to choose a winner within 10 days, but proposals considered insufficient and internal pressures threaten the result of competition

The auction by ITA Airways is going through a difficult time. Previously expected in July, the announcement of a winner ended up being delayed by the resignation of the Prime Minister of Italy, Mario Draghi.

The politician will remain in office until the elections on September 25, but he wants to choose the consortium that should take over 80% of the carrier, which is currently owned by the government.

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However, the competition has several problems. The two participants, the association of Lufthansa and MSC, and the Certares fund, in partnership with Air France-KLM and Delta Air Lines, would have made very low offers for the airline, which made the Italian government request new proposals.

There is a preference for the Lufthansa-MSC duo, which would keep control of ITA in the hands of the Italians, as the maritime operator will have greater participation in the society. But the German airline is pushing for a quick decision. “Our patience is not infinite,” said Carsten Spohr, CEO of Lufthansa, on Thursday.

“Our patience is not infinite,” said Carsten Spohr, CEO of Lufthansa

Draghi said the fate of ITA Airways could be decided within 10 days, but Giorgia Meloni, leader of Italy’s national conservative Fratelli d’Italia party and favorite to be prime minister, warned that a hasty decision could be reviewed.

“It is necessary to carefully evaluate the presence of the State in the company and the participation of other partners”, stated Meloni.