The Lufthansa Group of Germany is rumored to be in advanced talks to buy a 40% interest in ITA Airways, Italy’s new flag carrier.
The agreement might be disclosed as soon as next week, according to Italian daily Il Foglio, which broke the news. On Saturday, Lufthansa declined to comment on the reports.
The newspaper did not specify how much Lufthansa planned to spend on the deal, but sources told the publication that the airline hoped to turn Rome’s Fiumicino International Airport into a long-haul hub for flights to the Americas and Africa.
The Italian government owns ITA Airways, which was established to replace the now-defunct national carrier Alitalia.
During the years-long process of winding up Alitalia, conversations with Lufthansa regarding a prospective sale were undertaken, but nothing came of it.
The ITA Airways management team, on the other hand, has been upfront about its ambition to sell the new airline, or at least an interest in it, to a worldwide airline group.
Senior executives have courted Lufthansa, and there have been rumors that they are also courting Delta Air Lines.
The Lufthansa Group has a large footprint in Europe, and Air Dolomiti, an Italian regional carrier, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the corporation.
On January 31, ITA Airways will convene a boarding meeting to consider the future steps for the budding company.
A plan to restore the Alitalia name, which was purchased by ITA for €90 million, is one of the motions up for approval. The transaction with Lufthansa might possibly be approved by the board.