Disclosing a contract with a Milan airport, German airline Lufthansa unveiled Monday expansion plans in Italy, where flag carrier Alitalia has been teetering on the edge of collapse, according to the dpa.
Lufthansa said it was obtaining six new jets to base at Milan's Malpensa airport, where they would be operated by Lufthansa's Italian subsidiary Air Dolomiti. It has signed a memorandum of understanding to set up bigger ground facilities at Malpensa.
Currently Lufthansa operates 158 inbound and 158 outbound flights per week through Malpensa.
The six Embraer 195 jets, each of which will seat about 100 passengers when delivered by the Brazilian maker at the start of next year, would allow expansion by 150 inbound and 150 outbound flights to European destinations.
Lufthansa described this as a "first step." The German airline has said in the past it will seek customers in Italy vigorously, but is not interested in taking over Alitalia, the state airline which Air France KLM shrank one week ago from taking over.
Milan centres Italy's economic powerhouse Lombardy region.
The contract with SEA, the company operating Malpensa airport, will allow Lufthansa to expand ground facilities, though Lufthansa said Monday it was too early to say if any building work was needed. The memorandum on infrastructure set out framework conditions only.
Lufthansa regional subsidiaries also operate 28 inbound and 28 outbound connections weekly at Milan's other airport, Linate, while code-shares with partner Air One add another 186 connections each way on Lufthansa's behalf.