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May 21, 2024
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UPDATE – Italian airline ITA Airways ended 2022 with a €486 million net loss, newspaper Corriere della Sera reports. Last year has been the first full year of ITA’s history as it launched services in October 2021, so no comparable results are available.

Revenues for the period were €1.576 billion, of which €1.272 billion more is from 10.1 million passengers carried and the rest from other income. EBITDA was €-338 million, the operating loss €-524 million.

ITA ended the year with €418 milion in cash and cash equivalents, thanks to €400 million in support from the Italian government that was provided in November.

The results confirm the urgency for ITA Airways to quickly conclude an agreement with Lufthansa about a partial privatization, analysts tell the newspaper. Negotiations between the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Finance and Lufthansa have been ongoing for a few months now and are expected to be concluded in the coming weeks.

An agreement would give Lufthansa a forty percent stake in ITA for around €300 million, with an option to fully acquire the airline at a later stage. With ITA, Lufthansa wants to strengthen its position on the Italian market, which is its second-largest in Europe.

Lufthansa became the preferred bidder for ITA when it made an official bid in January. The previous Italian government had entered exclusive talks with a consortium of investment group Certares, Delta, and Air France-KLM, but the new administration under Prime Minister Meloni had a preference for the German airline group.

Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr told journalists on Wednesday at the Airlines 4 Europe Aviation Summit that negotiations with the government have entered the final phase. This is about agreeing on the right price, which according to Spohr needs to reflect the 2022 loss. Spohr will discuss the topic on Thursday when he meets the Italian Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance.

Earlier this week, the European Commission ruled that ITA’s predecessor Alitalia has to repay the €400 million in state aid that it received in 2019. State aid was granted in 2017 after Alitalia filed for bankruptcy protection, with €900 million provided that tear and €400 million in 2019. Brussels says that the second loan must be qualified as illegal state aid, having already said the same of the first loan.

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Richard Schuurman
Active as a journalist since 1987, with a background in newspapers, magazines, and a regional news station, Richard has been covering commercial aviation on a freelance basis since late 2016. Richard is contributing to AirInsight since December 2018. He also writes for Airliner World, Aviation News, Piloot & Vliegtuig, and Luchtvaartnieuws Magazine. Twitter: @rschuur_aero.

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