Air Dolomiti president and majority shareholder Alcide Leali last month announced his intention to exercise an option to sell 31.2 percent of the regional airline’s shares to German flag carrier Lufthansa. The estimated E40 million ($42.5 million) transaction, scheduled to take effect on April 16, would give Lufthansa a controlling stake in the Italian regional airline. Lufthansa, which has held a minority position in Air Dolomiti since 1999, expects to increase its stake to 51.9 percent, contingent on approval by government authorities. Once it secures the approvals, Lufthansa plans to proceed with a public offer to buy shares from the airline’s remaining shareholders.
Flying from Lufthansa’s second hub in Munich since it entered a so-called trading agreement with the major airline in 1993, Air Dolomiti has expanded its presence at the Bavarian gateway to encompass 11 Italian destinations. In 1994 Air Dolomiti signed a full-fledged code-share contract with Lufthansa, a deal that formed the basis for the Italian regional’s admission into the Star Alliance in 1997. Now the largest foreign carrier in Munich, Air Dolomiti plans to increase its German presence further with the scheduled opening of a second passenger terminal at Munich International this summer.