Italian authorities are trying to figure out how to carve up Alitalia, and Delta is emerging as a leading candidate.
Italian executives will meet with Delta Air Lines Inc. managers in Atlanta to discuss a potential merger with Alitalia, La Stampa reported, citing an unidentified official familiar with the Ferrovie plan.
The Italian government may favor a deal for Alitalia with Delta over Deutsche Lufthansa AG because it would be easier to implement and wouldn’t require job cuts, the newspaper cited the official as saying. Alitalia’s partnership with Delta would involve mainly long-haul flights to the U.S., while a deal with Lufthansa could focus on the Italian market, according to Stampa.
The national railroad operator Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane has been given the task of conducting the negotiations and some of its executives will be making the trip to Atlanta next week, according to Stampa.
Ferrovie executives need to submit to the Italian government an industrial plan for Alitalia, including a deal with another carrier, by the end of February, the daily said. EasyJet has a less attractive proposal that includes buying part of Alitalia’s fleet and using a small number of its personnel, according to Stampa.
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Photo credit: Shown is the tail of an Alitalia aircraft. Airline officials will soon have exploratory talks in Atlanta with Delta about a merger. Leandro Ciuffo / Alitalia