MILAN (Reuters): ITA, the new Italian carrier that will replace cash-strapped Alitalia, aims to get control of ticket sales from the old airline as soon as possible, ITA CEO Fabio Lazzerini said last week.
Rome last year began a plan to restructure Alitalia and launch ITA, which was supposed to become operative in early April.
This was delayed by lengthy negotiations with the European Commission, which has asked the new carrier to give up half of Alitalia’s slots at Milan Linate airport, the old brand and the loyalty program.
ITA now hopes to find a compromise with EU in the short term and launch its business on 1 July.
“Giving up half of (Alitalia’s) Linate slots is too much to ask,” Lazzerini said, adding that ITA proposed to relinquish some slots at Rome Fiumicino airport to find a less painful deal with the EU on Linate. Fiumicino, Alitalia’s main hub, is operated by Aeroporti di Roma, part of infrastructure group Atlantia.
Speaking in front of four parliamentary committees, Lazzerini said that ITA would need a strong partner to thrive.
The new company has already started talks with Air France-KLM, Delta and Virgin on one side and Lufthansa on the other over a possible alliance.
Asked whether the future ally could buy a stake in the new carrier, Lazzerini acknowledged that many airlines, including Delta and Lufthansa, could not make acquisitions for some time after benefiting from State-granted COVID-19 funds. Separately, Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr said the German carrier’s stance on Alitalia was unchanged adding it would open to cooperation but would not invest in the Italian airline.