Alitalia to pursue final deal with Etihad

Troubled Italian airline Alitalia said Friday that it would seek to secure a final deal to make Etihad Airways its top shareholder after examining the Abu Dhabi carrier's turnaround plan.

Alitalia to pursue final deal with Etihad
Photo: AFP

Alitalia president Roberto Colaninno and chief executive Gabriele Del Torchio have been charged "to continue negotiations for the drafting of a definitive agreement with the UAE company," said a statement from the board.

Italian transport minister Maurizio Lupi, who has been deeply involved in the case, welcomed the announcement on Twitter.

"The board of directors of Alitalia gives a mandate to close (negotiations) with Etihad. Good! Italy is again attracting foreign capital. Now forward, swiftly!" he tweeted.

Etihad has for months been negotiating to buy up to 49 percent of the stricken Italian flag carrier, which is facing bankruptcy.

But talks have stumbled over Alitalia's heavy debt load and predicted job cuts of between 2,400 and 2,500 Ethiad wants as part of the deal.

According to Italian media, the issue of debt had still not been discussed after a meeting between the banks and the Italian government on Thursday

Unions are expected to meet on 12th June.

Senior officials from the northern Italian region of Lombardy have also expressed concern this week about the fate of Milan's Malpensa airport, which they fear could be seriously penalised in the Etihad's projects.

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Italy insists €3bn cash injection for Alitalia is ‘not another rescue’

The Italian government announced plans on Thursday to inject at least three billion euros ($3.2 billion) into Alitalia to help save it from collapse in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

Italy insists €3bn cash injection for Alitalia is 'not another rescue'
Alitalia check-in counters stand empty at Rome's Fiumicino airport during Italy's lockdown. Photo: AFP

Economic Development Minister Stefano Patuanelli told the Senate the money was aimed at turning the struggling company into the national airline it had been throughout much of its 74-year history.

“This is not another rescue,” Italian media quoted Patuanelli as saying. “This is the company's relaunch.”


Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte's government in March announced plans to renationalise Alitalia as part of a broader economic rescue package.

It then earmarked 500 million euros in support for the entire aviation sector.

The company filed for bankruptcy in 2017 and looked doomed in January when it failed to secure rescues from either the Italian state railway or Germany's Lufthansa.

Alitalia's management had asked government administrators in March to allow it furlough 4,000 of its 11,000 employees until more passengers are able, and willing, to fly.

The carrier's main trade union announced an agreement Thursday to suspend about 6,600 employees for seven months.

Patuanelli said government administrators intended to keep Alitalia's current fleet.

“There is no downsizing at the company,” the minister said.