EUROPE & CIS: Alitalia acquisition and relaunch delayed again

The Italian government wants the €1.05 billion sale of Alitalia to investor group Compagnia Aerea Italiana, or CAI, to be completed by January 12, in yet another delay in the sale of the ailing state-controlled airline, Dow Jones reported. Industry Minister Claudio Scajola said the delay of the sale until after the Christmas holidays was […]


The Italian government wants the €1.05 billion sale of Alitalia to investor group Compagnia Aerea Italiana, or CAI, to be completed by January 12, in yet another delay in the sale of the ailing state-controlled airline, Dow Jones reported.

Industry Minister Claudio Scajola said the delay of the sale until after the Christmas holidays was decided to avoid disruptions during a peak travel season.

Alitalia said the government agreed to the delay on the condition CAI takes responsibility for the company in mid- December when the transfer of assets must be finalised.

CAI’s purchase and relaunch of Alitalia received final approval by Italian and European competition authorities in early December, with the former stipulating that at least 10 per cent of seats on each flight be available at the “cheapest price.” But, Alitalia must pay back the €300 million emergency loan from the Italian government, which the European Commission yesterday called “unlawful aid and incompatible with the common market.”

The Italian authorities also reserved the right to issue an additional ruling once CAI chooses either Lufthansa or Air France KLM as its foreign investor.

As part of CAI’s plans to relaunch Alitalia as a leaner, smaller carrier, privately-held Air One is to be merged into Alitalia. CAI will operate a total of 550 daily flights from January 12, far less than last year’s daily Alitalia and Air One’s combined 800 flights.