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AIRLINE

2,200 jobs to go in ‘painful’ Alitalia shake-up

Struggling Italian airline Alitalia will have to shed 2,200 jobs as part of its planned tie-up with Etihad Airways, which has promised to invest €560 million, the head of the Italian airline said on Monday.

2,200 jobs to go in 'painful' Alitalia shake-up
Gabriele del Torchio, Alitalia's chief executive, said the airline would go through a "complex, tiring and painful" restructuring. Alitalia photo: Shutterstock

Negotiations have been running for months for the Emirati airline to take a 49 percent stake in Alitalia, which currently employs 12,800 people and is facing bankruptcy.

The Italian airline will have to go through a restructuring that is "complex, tiring and painful – there is no alternative," said Gabriele del Torchio, Alitalia's chief executive, on the sidelines of a conference in Rome.

It had previously said as many as 2,500 jobs were on the line.

The airline's management hopes to finalize a deal on the company's debt by Friday. Del Torchio said talks with banking creditors were "very advanced", and that they were demanding "a sacrifice".

"I think it will take only a few weeks to conclude the deals with Etihad," he said, adding that a successful deal would send "an important signal" about Italy to foreign investors.

AirFrance-KLM also owns a stake in Alitalia, but chose not to pursue taking over the Italian airline after it could not get similar guarantees on deep restructuring to make it profitable.

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AIRLINE

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.”

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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.

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