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Italy: Italian Government Presses Delta To Scale Up Commitment To Alitalia

During a speech in Rome on Saturday, Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte urged the US Delta Air Lines to scale up its commitment to rescuing Alitalia.

Delta Airlines is coordinating with the state-owned railway group Ferrovie dello Stato and the Infrastructure group Atlantia in a plan to restructure and rescue of the loss-making airline. The plan would entail investment to the tune of €1bn, in which Delta has pledged a 10% stake.

“A 10% stake seems to me a bit low to have a strong business involvement,” Conte said.

Atlantia is committed to taking a 30% stake in the new airline, while the state-owned group is expected to assume 60% of the cost of the rescue program.

The deadline for the presentation of a binding offer to Alitalia expired on September 15 and, once again, was extended to October 31. It appears the company has the cash to continue by itself until the end of 2019, although not through the winter, Corriere della Sera reports.

The Italian stakeholders apparently insist on Delta Air Lines increasing its investment above the €100 million committed in the preliminary stage. Delta is not opposed in principle but is asking for key management positions in the new airline, according to the Italian press.

Furthermore, Alitalia is negotiating its position on a transatlantic joint venture including Delta, Air France/KLM and Virgin Atlantic. The joint venture would distribute profits on transatlantic routes based on capacity, making Alitalia a marginal agent, unless Alitalia and Delta constitute a single entity on the basis of a bilateral agreement.


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