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Lufthansa Italia Tries to Add Pressure as Alitalia Receives EU Approval

Ok kids, who’s ready for an Alitalia update? I know, it’s been a little while. It may seem like plenty has happened, but really, we’re not that much closer to resolving this hilarious situation. One of these days, I’ll get around to making a mini-documentary that’s set to the Benny Hill theme music.

Alitalia Worst Airline EverSo what’s the latest? Well, CAI, the consortium of Italian businessmen, did agree to buy Alitalia for a little over €400 million plus another €600 million in debt. Sounds expensive, but it’s not when you consider that they just get to cherry pick the good parts of the airline that they want to keep. For example, they will only take 93 of Alitalia’s 173 aircraft and only about 60% of the airline’s employees will still have jobs. You know what that means. . . more strikes!

But alas, not all of the prized assets are part of the deal. It appears that Alitalia will be auctioning off its fine art collection. Yes, it had a fine art collection. Is anyone still wondering what’s wrong with this airline?

Anyway, the sale was supposed to be final earlier this week, but wouldn’t you know it’s delayed? Final approval was received yesterday from the EU, and the Italian government has now decided to require that 10% of all seats be sold at the lowest prices available this year. I can’t make this up.

They now say the deal will be signed on December 12, but CAI still needs to get its hands on Air One so it can merge them and relaunch the new Alitalia in January. Why the delay? Sounds like they might be having trouble getting all the cash together in a timely manner. I know I’d think twice before dumping that money into the pot.

We also still don’t know whether Alitalia will partner up with Lufthansa or Air France. Air France has been relatively quiet, but Lufthansa is using a rather unconventional approach to winning this bid. Lufthansa has decided to launch Lufthansa Italia with a half dozen A319s flying out of Milan. I suppose the strategy here is that if Alitalia doesn’t pick Lufthansa, then Lufthansa will just build its own airline to compete (and crush) Alitalia. We’ll see if that works out for them.

This really should have been resolved long ago, but I’m sure enjoying that it continues to drag on.

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