Lufthansa Still Keen To Partner With Struggling Alitalia

Today, Lufthansa has expressed that it is keen to partner with Alitalia. The German flag carrier said that for now, it would prefer to set up a partnership rather than invest in the Italian airline.

Lufthansa is interested in aligning with Alitalia rather than investing in it. Photo: Airbus

A different kind of offer

There were previous reports that Lufthansa was ready to invest €200 million to turn Alitalia around following its bankruptcy in 2017. However, according to Aviation International News, it will prioritize other forms of development. Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr shared that his company sees value in a commercial partnership but hasn’t ruled out an investment once the company is back on its feet.

“We have not changed our position. In the current Alitalia, we will not invest,” the executive said at the IATA Wings of Change Europe conference in Berlin, as reported by Aviation International News.

“But we would be interested in being the commercial partner to turn the company into a successful airline. Once it is a successful airline, we also see ourselves investing.”

Alitalia jet on taxiway
Alitalia went into administration in May 2017. Photo: Alitalia

Delayed comeback

This news comes following the Italian Government’s approval of another delay to Alitalia’s relaunch. The Italian Minister of Industry Stefano Patuanelli said that he would sign an extension of a deadline of at least eight weeks.

This was done to appease the interested parties planning to make an investment. Now, there is not long left before a consortium headed by Italy’s state-owned railway firm Ferrovie dello Stato (FS) is due to submit a plan to save the carrier.

Italian infrastructure group Atlantia also expressed commitment to the consortium, while Delta Air Lines was also willing to invest 10 percent. However, involvement from Lufthansa may have raised questions for the US airline. Nonetheless, rather than becoming part of the consortium, Lufthansa feels that in order to become a strong operator, airlines need strong partners.

“It will be very challenging for Alitalia to be successful on their own. You need partners, nowadays, to be successful,” Spohr asserted. “Swiss needed a partner, Austrian Airlines needed a partner, Brussels Airlines needed a partner, even Lufthansa needs a partner,” Spohr added.

Alitalia jet on taxiway
The Italian government recently delayed the relaunch of Alitalia in preparation of a bid. Photo: Alitalia

Not a bad idea

The businessman then went on to speak about the strengths that Lufthansa brings to the table. He noted his company’s strong frequent flier program, along with its support in China, Canada, and Latin America.

Once relaunched, it could be in Alitalia’s interest to take on Lufthansa’s offer. With a massive network and reliable infrastructure, it could help the struggling carrier ease its way back into the fold. However, Alitalia’s overseers will be hoping that the immediate investment will be coming its way from somewhere first.

Simple Flying reached out to Lufthansa for comment but did not hear back before publication. We will update the article with any further announcements.

What do you think of Lufthansa’s idea of a partnership with Alitalia? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section.