Lufthansa, ITA to give up 11 slots in Milan to get EU go ahead for tie-up

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UPDATE 1-Lufthansa, ITA to give up 11 slots in Milan to get EU go ahead for tie-up – newspaper

Adds Lufthansa comments in paragraph 4 and 5

ROME, April 28 (Reuters)Germany’s Lufthansa LHAG.DE and Italian rival ITA will offer to cede 11 pairs of slots a day at Milan’s Linate airport in order to secure the EU’s green light for their proposed tie-up, Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera reported on Sunday.

The German carrier is looking to acquire a 41% stake in state-owned ITA – Alitalia’s successor – but has so far failed to persuade EU competition regulators to clear the bid.

On Friday, the Italian economy minister said the two airlines would propose further remedies after Lufthansa’s latest proposals were rejected by the Commission as insufficient.

“We have developed a comprehensive, constructive solution to address the competition concerns raised by the authority regarding the relevant routes and the situation at Milan Linate airport,” a spokesperson for Lufthansa said on Sunday, adding that the company can’t comment on the details of the process.

Lufthansa Group remains confident that the EU Commission will approve the agreed stake in ITA, the spokesperson said.

The carriers are willing to give up 22 flights, to and from the Milan airport – where ITA is seen to have a dominant position – and are already in advanced negotiations with Easyjet EZJ.L to take those slots, the report added, citing four EU sources.

By giving up the slots, currently held by Lufthansa, the new combined entity would not increase its total market share but this would remain between 60-62%, Corriere added.

Reporting by Giulia Segreti;Editing by Elaine Hardcastle

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