13 Dec 2008

Alitalia taken over by consortium

7:02 am on 13 December 2008

Alitalia, Italy's troubled national flag-carrier, has been taken over by the Italian Air Company, a consortium of investors.

The long-running deal had been delayed by opposition from employees, but the two major unions representing flight attendants backed the deal on Friday.

The consortium also bought Alitalia's smaller rival Air One on Thursday and will now merge the two carriers.

The new owners may now link up with Lufthansa or Air France-KLM.

CAI chairman Roberto Colaninno said a new partner would be proposed to the board by the end of the year.

Alitalia filed for bankruptcy in August, due to high labour costs, strikes, surging oil prices and political interference.

It was unable to repay a loan of 300 million euros to the Italian government, which the European Commission said amounted to illegal state aid.