Lufthansa’s attempts to lure ITA Airways with an attractive offer into its Star Alliance have failed. The Italian carrier, which launched operations on October 15 as successor to Alitalia, has opted to join the SkyTeam alliance instead, it announced on October 29. ITA Airways prefers to join SkyTeam.

Already during a press conference on the first day of services, ITA indicated that it preferred SkyTeam over the rival offering. ITA inherits Alitalia’s place in the alliance, with which it has had a strong bond for over two decades.

“For more than 20 years, the Italian market has been a cornerstone of SkyTeam’s European network and no other airline alliance connects Italy better to the world. We warmly welcome ITA Airways’ decision to join our alliance and ensure continuity of service for the millions of customers who choose SkyTeam as their preferred alliance to Italy,” SkyTeam Chairman Walter Cho says in a media statement.

ITA Airways’ CEO Alfredo Altavilla (with SkyTeam CEO and Managing Director Kirsten Colvile on the main picture) referred to joining SkyTeam as “a natural step, enabling us to continue to deliver a global network and seamless experience that customers flying to and from Italy expect.”

For the same reason that SkyTeam calls the Italian market a cornerstone for its network, Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr said earlier this year that he wanted ITA to join Star Alliance because of the importance of Italy for Lufthansa. That’s why he was keen to have ITA on board Star Alliance. It was even speculated that the German carrier would acquire an equity share in ITA around 2024-2025, when conditions set out by the European Commission will allow foreign participation in the carrier.

Delta’s Ed Bastian has said recently that his airline isn’t interested in buying into ITA Airways and prefers other partnerships. The signing of ITA with SkyTeam is the first step. With the new airline still to show its credentials when it is fully operational with a new fleet and a new business model, it is still early days for discussing potential partners. Air France and KLM, both pillars of SkyTeam, have also always kept an eye on developments in Italy, but first, need to get their own houses on order before committing to new adventures.

Other members of SkyTeam are Aeroflot, Aerolíneas Argentinas, Aeromexico, Air Europa, China Airlines, China Eastern, Czech Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Garuda Indonesia, Kenya Airways, Korean Air, Middle East Airlines, Saudia, TAROM, Vietnam Airlines, and Xiamen Airlines.

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Active as journalist since 1987, starting with regional newspaper Zwolse Courant. Grand Prix reporter in 1997 at Dutch monthly Formule 1, general reporter Lelystad/Flevoland at De Stentor/Dagblad Flevoland, from 2002 until June 2021 radio/tv reporter/presentor with Omroep Flevoland.
Since mid-2016 freelance aviation journalist, since June 2021 fully dedicated to aviation. Reporter/editor AirInsight since December 2018. Contributor to Airliner World, Piloot & Vliegtuig. Twitter: @rschuur_aero.

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