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Alitalia: tight rhythms to find a solution from January

New meetings with Lufthansa. Meanwhile losses for almost 500 million

The Christmas holidays have slowed (just apparently?) the discussions on the table of Ferrovie dello Stato (FS) to find the international partners suitable to revive Alitalia, but from the first week of January meetings with different possible investors will resume tight rhythm. Firstly, there is the pre-eminent position of the American Delta, which seems to be the number one favorite to enter the shareholding of the newco that will be created for the Italian flag carrier, which would be used to share some links and to increase mobility in Italy of travellers arriving from the United States to Rome-Fiumicino airport (served by high-speed trains), through the creation of a joint-venture. Secondly, there is the British low-cost easyJet which would be willing to buy shares of Alitalia in exchange for the sale of some slots in Milan-Linate and some of the aircraft used for the short-medium range.

A solution that could resize the new Alitalia on continental transport, but that could allow it to release funds to invest (along with those that could be put by other Italian public companies) to modernize the fleet of long-haul aircraft so as to enhance those routes more profitable. In addition to the two possible solutions, Lufthansa's "backfire" is not to be discarded, especially because -as reported by "Milano Finanza"- at the beginning of January the company and Fs will meet to understand what the real intentions of the German group. Unfortunately, however, the position will have changed and despite the real interest in Alitalia, Lufthansa's management has repeatedly come to deny any participation in a company that will be 51% controlled by Italian public companies (as a result of the state).

The program, pending the presentation of the industrial plan by Ferrovie dello Stato, seems to be optimistic and favorable to Alitalia but it is not all that now glitters, and this year the company under administration from May 2017 should close with losses around 500 million euros, which does not bode well for the future newco.

M/A - 1217411

AVIONEWS - World Aeronautical Press Agency