ITA Airways (AZ, Rome Fiumicino) is fully committed to its proposed merger with Lufthansa and sees no alternative to the plan, which also has the full backing of the Italian government and the German airline, according to ITA Airways chairman Antonino Turicchi.

Lufthansa aims to acquire a 41% stake in ITA Airways from the Italian Treasury for EUR325 million euros (USD352 million), but the deal faces European Commission regulatory challenges due to antitrust concerns. Both parties are working on remedies to address these concerns, with a deadline of April 26. Brussels opened an in-depth investigation on January 23 and has until June 6 to take a final decision, but Turicchi suggested this might be postponed until the end of June.

According to Corriere della Serra, there's a possibility that the parties may reconsider the ownership structure, potentially reducing Lufthansa's share to 19.9% and increasing the Ministry of Economy and Finance's share to 80.1%, thereby avoiding the requirement for notification. However, this approach has limitations, as it would prevent ITA Airways from fully capitalising on the commercial and industrial synergies offered by Lufthansa.

However, the ITA Airways chairman expressed strong belief in the merger when he addressed reporters at the carrier's head office at Rome Fiumicino. "There is no plan B, let's move forward with Lufthansa," he told the Milan daily. "On the part of the Treasury and Lufthansa, there is a strong commitment to studying solutions ... there is no plan B because we strongly believe in plan A," he was quoted by Reuters.

On March 25, the EC - the European Union anti-trust watchdog - announced it had informed Lufthansa and the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance of its preliminary view that their proposed joint control of ITA Airways may restrict competition and increase fares on certain routes in and out of Italy.

It bases these concerns on Lufthansa and ITA Airways operating an extensive network of routes from their respective hubs in Austria, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland and Italy; Lufthansa having transatlantic joint ventures with United Airlines and Air Canada and with ANA - All Nippon Airways to Japan.