Lufthansa asks EU to stop Etihad-Alitalia deal

LH: “We reject recurrent subsidies and partial renationalisation”

Lufthansa says that Etihad Airways’ plans to invest in struggling Alitalia would result in unfair competition and is calling on the European Union to stop the deal.

The Abu Dhabi-based carrier already has stakes in airlines such as Aer Lingus, Air Berlin and Virgin Australia. As previously reported, it now says it is in the final stages of a process that could result in a similar deal with Alitalia.

Lufthansa is known for its vocal lobbying against the state-owned Gulf carriers Etihad, Emirates and Qatar Airways, arguing that they benefit from unfair state aid.

“We reject recurrent subsidies and the partial renationalisation of European airlines, whether by European states or by states or state-owned companies from outside the European Union,” it said.

Maurizio Lupi, Italy’s transport minister, hit back: “Lufthansa’s worries about a deal with Etihad just confirm that Alitalia is on the right track. […] State aid? Flouting of competition rules? It rather seems that Lufthansa is the one that is afraid of competition.”

Last year, British Airways and Iberia owner IAG criticised an Italian government-backed plan to inject emergency cash into Alitalia.


[photo courtesy Etihad Airways]