Unions Approve Alitalia Bailout


According to a Reuters report, a proposed bailout of Alitalia by Italian investment firm Compagnia Aerea Italia (CAI) finally won the support of SDL and AVIA, which represent cabin crew and ground staff unions. This support, the last challenge after the pilots signed the deal last week, will clear the way for the relaunch of Italy's national airline, which had appeared doomed to liquidation. The offer had been withdrawn but was revived last week.

Alitalia still needs a foreign partner to compete over the long-term, and the deal could also face scrutiny from European Union regulators over whether it restricts competition and benefits from unfair government aid.

The airline's assets must also be assessed—and domestic rival Air One's assets acquired by CAI—before the Italian flag carrier can be reborn. Both Air France-KLM and Lufthansa have shown interest in the new Alitalia as the airline sector consolidates amid crippling oil prices.

But the government of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi—who opposed an earlier Air France-KLM offer under the previous centre-left government on the grounds that Alitalia should remain Italian—insists any foreign airline must only have a minority stake.

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