Lufthansa, Air Berlin and Alitalia. New ownerships and future prospects for the European aviation industry

On 13 October 2017, German carrier Lufthansa (Deutsche Lufthansa AG) announced the signing of a contract regarding the purchase of NIKI Luftfahrt GmbH (NIKI) and Luftfahrtgesellschaft Walter mbH (LGW). The concentration will help increase the capacity of the operational fleet of Eurowings, the low cost carrier of the Lufthansa Group, by adding more than 30 Airbus A320 aircraft and 1,700 employees. This acquisition will help Eurowings’ expansion and modernisation program. The company expects to grow its fleet up to 210 aircraft, including 21 long-haul aircraft, making Eurowings the third-largest airline in European point-to-point traffic. The number of employees is expected to grow from currently around 7,000 to roughly 10,000 while a total of 80,000 additional flights and 12 million additional passengers per year are also anticipated.

The purchasing price of the transaction is approximately 210 million euros and its finalization is subject to approval by the relevant competition authorities.

Soon after announcing its deal with Air Berlin, the Lufthansa Group has also confirmed its interest for the Italian carrier Alitalia. Indeed, the German company sent an offer letter presenting its “NewAlitalia” concept and stating its interest in only parts of the Global network traffic and European and domestic point-to-point business of Alitalia. A similar interest was also expressed by the low cost carrier EasyJet, even if the Italian government would likely prefer a full acquisition of the Italian carrier actually owned by CAI – Compagnia Aerea Italiana (51%) and Ethiad Airways (49%).


Davide Scavuzzo