Lufthansa Is Flexing Its Wings Around Europe

Lufthansa is one of Europe’s large airline groups. The group operates a number of airlines across Europe including, of course, its main airline which shares the name Lufthansa. However, the airline group could be looking to further expand its European footprint. Reports have suggested that the airline could be looking at opportunities within Italy and Slovenia.

Lufthansa, Adria Airways, Slovenia, Alitalia, Italy
Lufthansa could be about to flex its wings in Europe. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

Based in Frankfurt, Germany, the Lufthansa Group has interests in many airlines. Within Germany, this consists of Eurowings, Germanwings, SunExpress, and Lufthansa Cityline. However, branching further afield, this grows to include SWISS, Edelweiss Air, Austrian Airlines, and Brussels Airlines.

An Alitalia acquisition?

Earlier on today, Reuters reported that Lufthansa could form a commercial partnership with the struggling Italian airline Alitalia. However, they also went one step further by saying that should the right conditions be met, the German airline could potentially invest in a stake in the Italian flag carrier.

Unfortunately, the news comes from unnamed sources who wish to remain anonymous. Simple Flying has contacted Lufthansa for a statement regarding a potential partial acquisition of Alitalia. A spokesperson of the airline commented:

“The Italian market is very important to us. We have always stressed our interest in a restructured Alitalia. A commercial partnership is also conceivable for the Lufthansa Group. We do not comment on any further speculations.”

Lufthansa, Adria Airways, Slovenia, Alitalia, Italy
Could a stake in Alitalia be on the cards? Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

Alitalia is currently a member of the SkyTeam Alliance, however, the publication reported that it would cost around €80 million to transfer the airline to the Star Alliance, adding that an Italian government source would be happy for the German giant to acquire a part of its flag carrier.

What about Slovenia?

A separate source, Ex-Yu Aviation, suggests that Slovenian officials held talks with Lufthansa regarding the Slovenian aviation market in the wake of flag carrier Adria’s collapse. The German airline group quickly filled routes left empty from Adria’s service suspension.

Zdravko Počivalšek is the Minister for Economic Development and Technology in Slovenia. According to the publication, it is believed that he is proposing the formation of a new national airline. This endeavor would launch around February 2020. However, Ex-Yu Aviation notes that “Mr Počivalšek previously said any new flag carrier should be established only in partnership with Lufthansa”.

With the bids for Adria’s assets due by the 10th of November 2019, it will certainly be interesting to see which bids, if any, are received, and if Lufthansa is one of the bidding parties. There are no aircraft included in Adria’s assets, as they were all on lease when the airline collapsed.

Lufthansa, Adria Airways, Slovenia, Alitalia, Italy
Adria was a part of the Star Alliance alongside Lufthansa before its demise. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

Simple Flying additionally approached Lufthansa for comment regarding a potential partnership in Solvenia. A representative of the airline told us: “Lufthansa does not comment any media speculation.”

Could this become a reality?

Personally, I don’t think that either of the ideas are outside the realms of possibility. Lufthansa has been expressing an interest in Alitalia for quite some time. However, the potential restructuring of the Italian flag carrier has been unpopular.

With regard to Slovenia, following the collapse of Adria, there is currently a huge hole in the country’s aviation market. Lufthansa is already attempting to plug this hole by covering the Frankfurt to Ljubljana route. Additionally, other Lufthansa Group airlines have already followed suit.

Do you think Lufthansa should take these two opportunities? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!