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Italian Airline Alitalia Officially Sold To Private Investors

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The flight operations of Italy’s bankrupt national carrier officially changed hands on Friday, soldto Compagnia Aerea Italiana (CAI), a group of private Italian investors created to launch a new Italian national airline.
Although the sale represented a breakaway from the carrier’s state-controlled past, CAI Chairman Roberto Colaninno said the newnational airline will retain the name Alitalia, according to Italian News Agency ANSA.
Jan. 12 is the date set for the conversion from the old state-owned carrier to the new private national airline.
Before the new airline officially takes off, CAI will merge its Alitalia assets with those of Italy’s biggest private airline Air One, controlled by CAI partner Carlo Toto, which it formally acquired on Thursday.
A decision is also expected on CAI’s strategic foreign partner,which many pundits believe will be Air France-KLM.
CAI is paying a total of 1.052 billion euros (1.41 billion U.S.dollars) for Alitalia’s flight division, which includes assets as well as selective debts from ordering new aircraft.
Speaking to the press after the deal’s signing ceremony, Colaninno, who is also chairman of Vespa-maker Piaggio, said Alitalia had been bought “at the right price,” adding that the deal has been verified by the European Union.
As for the new Alitalia’s future partner, Colaninno said a decision “will be made before the end of the year because I’d liketo embark on this new adventure with our partner already aboard.”
Alitalia’s flight division was able to be spun off and sold separately from its loss-making activities thanks to changes made last summer to Italy’s bankruptcy laws.
The national carrier’s non-flight operations, as well as its over two-billion euro debt, are slated to be sold or liquidated by Alitalia’s government-appointed administrator Augusto Fantozzi.
The new airline will initially employ some 12,500 out of the nearly 17,000 staff at Alitalia and another 3,000 at Air One.
CAI’s other partners include Pirelli chief Marco Provera Tronchetti, the Ligresti insurance family, the Benetton family andthe Bellavista Caltagirone family, which through its company AcquaMarcia offers handling and maintenance services in five national airports, including Malpensa.

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