Europe & CIS : Alitalia saga may be near a conclusion

The long-running saga over the future of Alitalia looks like it may be finally nearing a resolution, with an Italian 16- strong consortium, named CAI and led by Roberto Colaninno, poised to take over. The final piece in the jigsaw will be the selection of a foreign minority shareholder partner. The Italian carrier was placed […]


Alitalia CAI Roberto Colaninno


The long-running saga over the future of Alitalia looks like it may be finally nearing a resolution, with an Italian 16- strong consortium, named CAI and led by Roberto Colaninno, poised to take over. The final piece in the jigsaw will be the selection of a foreign minority shareholder partner.

The Italian carrier was placed into receivership in September, and has been allowed to carry on operating, despite breaking EU financial rules on both government aid and cash reserves.

The takeover by CAI was finally approved in late September by the airline’s nine unions, although the €1 billion plan encompasses some 3,000 redundancies.

Under the agreement, CAI will purchase the Italian government’s 49.9 per cent stake, before merging the profitable parts of the business with Italy’s second largest airline, Air One – thus creating a new airline entity. The unprofitable parts of Alitalia will be liquidated and Alitalia Cargo will be sold.

Meanwhile, Lufthansa appears to have taken the lead in the race to become the airline’s foreign partner. Italian trade unions and politicians, including Berlusconi, have indicated that they favour a deal that would give the German carrier a minority stake in the airline.

Rival for the partnership role, Air France-KLM, has expressed a preference for a major hub in Rome by moving many of the operations away from Milan, but this plan has angered unions and politicians.