MIAMI — Seven new envelopes have arrived today at the Alitalia Administrators office in Rome with binding offers from interested investors. The Italian carrier released a statement saying that these offers “will be analyzed to determine whether they meet all the criteria to move forward.”
Currently, Lufthansa and EasyJet remain in pole position to acquire the assets of the bankrupt Italian carrier. According to a story published in the Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore, the German group is interested in taking part of Alitalia’s assets, including its fleet, slots, and some of its crew, and might have a plan to re-launch Alitalia as an all-new airline.
Lufthansa, who recently took over the majority of Air Berlin’s assets, would be interested in acquiring Alitalia’s global network, including their point-to-point slots in both the domestic and regional markets.
The German carrier’s CEO, Carsten Spohr, said on Thursday that Lufthansa “would be interested in taking over Alitalia only if it were possible to make a fresh start with it.”
Spohr added that “if there were a chance of creating a new Alitalia, as Europe’s number one (carrier) Lufthansa would certainly be interested in the talks.”
Lufthansa’s initial offer, however, was deemed too rough by the Italian airline, given that it proposed a cut of at least 50% of Alitalia’s workforce—unacceptable for both the Italian government and the carrier.
EasyJet, on the other hand, would be interested in taking some slots and several aircraft.
The low-cost-carrier released a statement yesterday, stating that they have “submitted an expression of interest in certain assets of a restructured Alitalia, consistent with easyJet’s existing strategy for Italy.
Given the nature of the process, the content of the expression of interest is subject to confidentiality. There is no certainty at this stage that any transaction will proceed and easyJet will provide a further update in due course if and when appropriate.”
Five More Interested Parties
With today’s announcement, five more parties are bidding to take some assets from Alitalia. “Seven envelopes have been delivered today at the Atlante Cerasi associate notary’s office in Rome. The special commissioners of Alitalia will now begin evaluating the envelopes,” said Alitalia in a public statement.
As of today, Alitalia has received over €1 billion of the capital injection by the Italian government. This has created some controversy, as the Italian taxpayer continues to fund a failing airline that hasn’t shown any signs of getting back on a profitable path.
The head of the powerful industrial employers’ federation Confindustria, Vincenzo Boccia, said that “we will need to see who buys it and who pays for it.”
“I do not think Italian citizens are willing to accept paying for on behalf of and in the name of others. Alitalia needs to be competitive and appeal to investors,” he said.
Bankruptcy? New Airplanes, Routes
Even though Alitalia filed for Chapter 11 in May, the airline’s operations remain stabilized. Now that seven binding offers have been received, a long road ahead of negotiations and internal discussions will determine the path of the ill-fated airline.
The Italian government has extended the deadline to receive improved bids and loaned an additional €300 million so that the airline remains operational. New routes, and a new plane, are about to join Alitalia despite its financial woes.
On September 1, the airline took take delivery of its first Boeing 777-300(ER). The ex-Air Austral Triple-Seven will be deployed on the airline’s flights from Rome (FCO) to Buenos Aires (EZE)—one of the most profitable and busy routes in Alitalia’s network.
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According to Routes Online, the aircraft will begin scheduled services to EZE on October 30, 2017.
Moreover, Alitalia will launch three weekly flights to the Maldives on the last day of October. The departing flight out of FCO will leave at 21:45 and arrive the following morning at Male International Airport (MLE) at 11:05 every Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday.
Similarly, New Delhi (DEL) will be linked to Rome on a daily basis starting on October 29, departing FCO at 14:40 and arriving in DEL at 02:40.
Today, Alitalia has a fleet of 22 Airbus A319, 42 A320, 12 A321, 14 A330-200, 11 Boeing 777-200(ER), and one 777-300(ER).