‘Hot’ days for Ita Airways’ contenders. In view of the new deadline set by the MEF shareholder for August 22 for the presentation of offers, the two consortiums in the field Msc-Lufthansa, on the one hand, and the Certares fund with Air France-KLM and Delta, on the other, they would be working on an update of the proposals, according to sources close to the dossier. The Draghi government, as the premier clearly stated last week, has no “intention of leaving the issue” to the next executive and wanting to go “all the way”. However, the proposals received, said the Minister of Economy, Daniele Franco, “are not fully coherent” and, for this reason, it was asked to “formulate further proposals”. This explains the lengthening of the times if we consider that a month ago the decision of the dicastery in via XX Settembre was expected and imminent to start the exclusive negotiation. The MSC-Lufthansa consortium was on pole. To complicate the picture was then the political crisis which, once again, catapulted the dossier into the electoral arena. The future of Ita is therefore played out on the thread of a few days and, above all, we observe an offer that can ensure the development of the company, born in October from the ashes of the old Alitalia. A strong proposal able to overcome the waves of the electoral campaign. Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr seems to have no doubts: on the occasion of the presentation of the half-year results he stated that “Ita needs a partner and we think we are the right one. This is independent of which party or group of parties governs the Village”. The MSC-Lufthansa consortium took the field already at the beginning of the year. The announcement of the expression of interest dates back to last January 24 Ita. The binding offer was sent in early July. The grouping would acquire 80% of the airline, 60% MSC and 20% Lufhansa. The remaining 20% remains with the Mef, as required by the dpcm. According to some news circulated, the amount put on the plate would be between 800 and 850 million euros. One of the main points of the industrial plan is to develop synergies with MSC for both passengers and cargo. It is precisely on goods, in particular, that the aim is to give a boost in light of the sector’s performance on the global market during the years of the pandemic. A market from which the old Alitalia was out, since the Fenice plan in 2008 had provided for the divestment of the cargo. This approach would enhance the role of Malpensa for freight. Fiumicino airport would become Lufthansa’s hub for the Mediterranean. A strategy that has always been at the center of the German giant’s designs on the Italian front. Ita would complete the multi-brand constellation that has been formed over the years with the acquisition of Swiss, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines. In Italy, Lufthansa already operates with Air Dolomiti. Meanwhile, the competing consortium is not stuck at the window and, according to what is learned, is working to update the offer. Among the pillars of the plan of Certares, Air France-KLM and Delta there would be the central role of Rome Fiumicino, which would become the third hub in continental Europe, together with Amsterdam and Paris. A door not only to strengthen the routes to North America (‘heart’ of the transatlantic joint venture with Alitalia) but also to Latin America and Africa. In fact, Rome could become a gateway to the African continent, a strategic piece for routes to and from Europe.In this operation, Air France-KLM and Delta will leverage their industrial know-how while Certares on its distribution network through its investments in leading companies in the distribution of leisure and business travel around the world. In this perspective, the role of Certares would be to attract and convey mainly American tourists to lesser-known Italian destinations. As for governance, the Ministry of Economy and Finance would continue to hold an important position, as a “co-star”. The Mef, in fact, would maintain a substantial package of voting rights close to 40%.
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