The European Commission is likely to approve Lufthansa Group's proposed EUR325 million euro (USD353 million) bid for a 41% stake in Italy's state-owned ITA Airways (AZ, Rome Fiumicino) following additional concessions on long-haul flights to North America, according to online newspaper Politico, citing several unnamed sources.

They claimed that barring any last-minute hitches, the Commission would accept concessions made last week. "There was a change of pace, a positive approach on both sides," one source said. Another said some technical details remain unfinalised even as approval is expected. A third source said the talks were more positive, but outstanding issues remained.

The Commission and Lufthansa Group have declined to comment on media speculation amid heightened political tension should Brussels veto the deal, which Italy's deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini warned would be viewed as "attack on Italy".

The Commission reportedly sought a ten-year commitment over Lufthansa's initial two-year pledge to keep ITA's business separate from its A++ transatlantic joint venture with United Airlines and Air Canada.

On May 21, Lufthansa Group and ITA Airways agreed to sacrifice at least 19 daily slot pairs at Milan Linate to be shared by easyJet and Volotea, which would establish bases at the airport. ITA Airways would be kept out of the transatlantic alliance for two years. Italy and Germany would sign special prorate agreements with rival carriers British Airways, Air France, and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines to ensure competition on long-haul routes.

On May 6, the Commission confirmed it was assessing a third round of revised commitments submitted by the parties to address preliminary antitrust concerns about the proposed transaction. The EU regulator must make a decision by July 4, 2024.