USAerospace, Efromovich interested in Italy’s Alitalia

An airplane of Alitalia approaches to land at Fiumicino international airport in Rome, May 3, 2017. — Reuters pic
An airplane of Alitalia approaches to land at Fiumicino international airport in Rome, May 3, 2017. — Reuters pic

MILAN, May 22 — Aviation service group USAerospace Partners and businessman German Efromovich both said today they were interested in investing in Italy’s loss-making carrier Alitalia — just as the government prepares to nationalise it.

Rome has been preparing to retake control of the troubled airline after three failed restructuring attempts.

Its already significant financial woes have been exacerbated by the fallout from the coronavirus crisis on the aviation industry.

The government has said it will inject €3 billion (RM13.9 billion) into a new state-owned company to save the airline.

But today, USAerospace head Michele Roosevelt Edwards said she was open to the possibility of joining forces with the Italian government and other investors to restructure the beleaguered national airline.

And Efromovich, the former owner of Colombian airline Avianca, said he was ready to invest “up to a billion euros”.

He was willing to form a partnership, but if that partner included the public sector “I would have one condition: zero political interference,” he told the Sole 24 Ore daily.

Efromovich said he could make Alitalia work for far less than the €3 billion the government is preparing to throw at it, but would not rule out job cuts, saying the company would have to be competitive or it would fail.

Alitalia has been accumulating losses for years and had to be placed under the administration in 2017. Since then, the state has been searching in vain for buyers.

Italy’s railway group Ferrovie dello Stato (FS) tried to form a consortium to save Alitalia — with American airline Delta, Germany’s Lufthansa and Italian motorway manager Atlantia — but threw in the towel at the beginning of January.

In April, Alitalia’s turnover fell by 97 per cent due to the pandemic, according to company director Giuseppe Leogrande, and 6,600 employees were furloughed until the end of October. — AFP

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