Strategic Meetings Summit London, 26 September,
September 29 2022, Kimpton Fitzroy London
Friday 30 September 2022, JW Marriott Grosvenor
This autumn will see the demise of Lufthansa's Italian brand, less than three years after its launch.
Christoph Franz, Lufthansa's CEO and Chairman, said: "Bundling our services under the Lufthansa and Air Dolomiti brands will give us a clearer and more streamlined presence in the Italian market.
Lufthansa Italia will cease operations on October 29. Its Airbus A319 aircraft will be redeployed elsewhere in the Lufthansa group, and its routes will be split between Air Dolomiti and Lufthansa itself.
“It makes sense to focus the Lufthansa Group’s offering on connecting the Italian market to the Group’s hubs,” said Franz.
The Lufthansa subsidiary, wholly-owned by the airline group, had hoped to fill a gap in the market when it launched in February 2009.
Much documented financial difficulties with Alitalia, and its subsequent merger with Air One, left the door open for a newcomer.
And Air One's old base, Milan Malpensa, looked a good bet for Lufthansa's Italian airline, after Alitalia pulled out of the airport.
Franz said: “When we launched Lufthansa Italia three years ago, we filled a gap that had emerged in Milan following Alitalia’s withdrawal from Malpensa and the end of our cooperation with Air One.”
The move proved to be a difficult one, however, with Alitalia since having shown strong recovery under its new ownership.
Alitalia also recently decided to expand the Air One brand as a regional low-cost carrier with its base in Milan, at Malpensa Airport.
Franz said: “Given the slump in prices on European routes and the competition, it was extremely difficult to establish a profitable European network under a separate brand.”
Despite the apparent failure of its Italian-based airline, Lufthansa said it predicts double-digit growth in its offering to Italy, with the expansion of Air Dolimiti into Germany.