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Etihad plays choosy suitor as Alitalia flaunts itself

May 12, 2014 Aviation, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59Etihad Airways is currently buying up minority stakes in various airlines around the world. One carrier very keen to attract its atttention is Alitalia.

The Italian airline and its creditors are keen for Etihad to make an investment and have put a proposal together to that end, Reuters news agency reports.

An option under discussion involves placing a large proportion of Alitalia’s EUR 800 million of debt into a separate company, reports suggest.

Alitalia chief executive Gabriele Del Torchio is said to be flying to the Gulf to meet Etihad chief James Hogan today to discuss the matter.

Alitalia was privatised in 2008 under a plan that involved spinning off unprofitable activities into a separate company. The airline is still unprofitable and is said to be burning about EUR 1 million a day just to stay flying.

Meanwhile, Etihad’s strategy of buying minority shareholdings in carriers is interpreted as an attempt to drive more traffic to its Abu Dhabi hub.

The European Commission is currently casting a wary eye over the deals.

“We are bringing competition in the market,” Hogan told reporters on the sidelines of a conference in Abu Dhabi.

“Some legacy carriers are using the European Commission to challenge us rather than challenge us through competition.”

Written by : William Sykes

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