waiting for a crisis Governmentthe AirFrance-Delta tandem led by the Certares fund is attempting a relaunch, trying to bypass Msc-Lufthansa in a privatization proceeding eta. A difficult process given the preference already given by the Ministry of Economy to the offer made by the shipping and cruise giant and the German group, but he insists on possible additional time for the government the Dragon to return to the game. Waiver of exclusive negotiations has been postponed due to political shivering, so why not try? If the executive continues the flight, the cards can then be reshuffled, while if a new stage opens, the sale of the national airline will go back to the freezer. Indeed, the parties, even if engaged in the hot front of Palazzo Chigi, never ceased to encourage and nurture this or that union. In this confused stage, the two contenders do not give up and increase the pressure while waiting for the referee. To replace MSC-Lufthansa, Certares’ plan focuses on two main themes: a greater involvement of Mef, which would have an important role in the alliance, and a much higher stake than the 20% proposed by competitors. According to sources who have seen the file, in the US fund presentation, it was written that Mef will have a veto on strategic issues and will be able to refer to the company’s top management. A very strong opening compared to the competing proposal. Not only. Thanks to Delta Air Lines, the historical partner of the old Alitalia airline, strong growth is expected in the rich North American market. Certares is – the plan says – a guarantee for the Italian state due to consolidated investments in leading companies in the distribution of leisure travel and work around the world. Its main stakes are in the capital of American Express Global Business Travel (30 billion corporate tickets sold), Internova (which controls the largest network of premium travel agencies in the United States), Tripadvisor and Hertz. The scale of distribution, the expertise in the travel sector, and the deep network of relationships constitute the added value that will allow ETA to maximize profits, the plan states.
With Certares, the guidelines always explain, Mef will then play an important role, rather than a supporting element, being able to choose the future president of Ita and maintain a veto on some confidential matter. Among other things, it will be able to ensure the centralization of the company’s role in the Italian tourism system, ensuring fair competition between the various players.
The main pillars of the Consortium business plan led by Certares along with the two global companies anticipate expansion on North American routes, the growth of Fiumicino Airport as the third European hub, and improved operational efficiency, with utmost attention to sustainability.
The project includes the “unique value” that Certares can achieve through “preferential agreements with portfolio companies and the ability to bring North American travelers to Italy’s lesser-known tourist destinations”. One aspect that some closet technicians like the most.
So the US fund aims to help boost sales of long-haul tickets to US customers, which are the most profitable routes for the tricolor carrier, since US travelers tend to spend more than Europeans.
The characteristic openness towards North America is, in Certares’ opinion, a special winning card from a commercial point of view. To confirm this data, please note that Delta is the undisputed champion at US airports (JFK and Boston), which together represent a segment of over 50% of flight capacity declared by ETA. In a dedicated chapter, Rome and its port are considered central in Europe. With the stated goal, thanks to the Sky Team alliance, to become the third hub of the ancient continent (along with Amsterdam and Paris).
In addition to North America, Latin America and Africa are also central to this strategy, with Fiumicino’s candidate to take on the role of a “gateway” to the African continent, a strategic hub for routes to and from Europe.
Frankly, the US fund determines the competitive advantage of the Certares-led coalition if Ita is part of the alliance: the key to success is selling more tickets at higher prices to premium travelers. A region where Certares has no fear of competitors thanks to potential alliances with Amex GBT and Internova. Not to mention the role Tripadvisor could play and the potential collaboration with Hertz. The rating for Ita, apart from the different weights in the capital, is very similar to that of Msc-Lufthansa.
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