Alitalia Board votes to accept Etihad offer, rapidly do deal: CEO

Monday, 16 June 2014 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Reuters: The Board of Italy’s troubled airline Alitalia on Friday voted to accept an offer by Etihad Airways to invest in the company, and said it would move quickly to conclude the tie-up, the company’s Chief Executive said. “Today the Etihad plan was approved, and the Board delegated myself and the Chairman to study and rapidly come up with a draft of the final contract,” Alitalia CEO Gabriele Del Torchio said. Abu Dhabi-based Etihad is prepared to invest up to 1.25 billion euros ($1.70 billion) over the next four years, Italy’s Transport Minister said on Wednesday. Italy’s flagship carrier Alitalia, which received a 500 million-euro government-engineered rescue package last year, risks running out of cash by August unless it can find a cash-rich partner. In a statement the privately-held airline said it approved its 2013 balance sheet, without giving details. It said only that it wrote down 233 million euros in charges and devaluations for 2013 “in preparation for future strategies”. A source with knowledge of the company’s 2013 balance sheet said losses, excluding the write-down, amounted to about 290 million euros. Alitalia is still negotiating with banks about restructuring about 700 million euros in debt, Del Torchio also said. “We’re proceeding, but you must understand that the sums are not small. We’re still working on it,” he said.  

 Etihad Cargo starts operations to Dar Es Salaam

Etihad Cargo has commenced a weekly freighter service to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.  On the return sector to Abu Dhabi, the freighter will also stop in Nairobi, Kenya. Dar es Salaam – Tanzania’s biggest city – is a major industrial and economic centre in East Africa, and following the first Etihad Cargo flight today, all subsequent weekly freighter services will operate every Monday to Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR). Etihad Cargo will deploy one of its three Airbus A330-200 wide-body freighters on the route, offering customers heavy uplift capability of up to 64 metric tonnes. Initially, the UAE airline expects the service to carry heavy electronics, medical equipment and food items to Dar es Salaam, with primarily perishable goods destined for the Gulf region and Europe loaded for the return flights. Etihad Cargo is the fast-growing freight business of UAE flag carrier Etihad Airways, offering services to 103 destinations internationally.  The carrier operates a fleet of nine freighters, consisting of three Airbus A330-200F, three Boeing B777F, and three Boeing 747F. Later this month, Etihad Cargo will take delivery of one new freighter, an Airbus A330-200F.