Italy to take full control of Alitalia as virus hits sale plan
The Italian government is close to taking full control of Alitalia, as the coronavirus outbreak in Europe was forcing it to abandon plans to find a buyer for the ailing national carrier, daily Il Messaggero said on Sunday.
According to the plan, which the report said was already at an “advanced stage”, the government would take control of both Alitalia’s aviation and land operations through a public vehicle, the report said, adding the plan would be implemented “in a short time”.
Rome had previously set a May 31 deadline to complete the sale of the loss-making airline, with potential investors asked to submit expressions of interest by March 18.
A source with knowledge of the matter told Reuters that Alitalia, which has been struggling for years, was running out of cash, despite an extra 400 million euro injection decided by Rome at the beginning of the year.
Transport Minister Paola De Micheli said this month the government wanted to accelerate the sale process following the spread of the virus, which has led to a collapse in air traffic.
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