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Alitalia: 10 days to go and Delta seems to be the favorite

Gianfranco Battisti (CEO FS): "we will choose the best solution in a secular way"

Delta would seem to be the favorite with Lufthansa to be part of the consortium: the German carrier is not willing to invest in capital, a fundamental condition for entering the "newco" and also confirmed its intention to participate only following a profound restructuring (see AVIONEWS). Delta Air Lines has instead offered 100 million euros and November 21 is the new deadline for the presentation of the binding offer.

The CEO of the Ferrovie dello Stato Gianfranco Battisti said that "The entry into Alitalia will not put at risk the investments of Fs in commuter trains. In a few days we will choose the partner between Delta and Lufthansa. We aim to close in March 2020 and are committed in a responsible way with Atlantia for a relaunch project. We have dedicated human and economic resources to work on a serious and credible plan. In the next few days we will receive the final offers from potential aeronautical partners and will evaluate the plans: those of Delta we know them, we have been working on it for a year. We will see the Lufthansa offer and will choose the best solution in a secular manner. The times do not depend only on us, we know that we cannot afford delays. The goal is to close in March 2020 with the ok of unions and antitrust: we are doing everything we can to achieve a positive result in a short time: the game is not easy but the consortium we are working on will have the maximum in industrial and financial solidity. The plan is an ambitious infrastructure and transport project: integrating ports, airports and stations with benefits for the Italian system. The goal is to intercept a significant part of the 140 million new tourist arrivals planned in Europe by 2030, seasonally adjusting the offer and redistributing the flows to less conventional destinations. We are also working on a synergy plan that will benefit both Alitalia and Railways. At Fiumicino we brought five high-speed trains that connect Rome with Genoa, Pisa, Florence, Bologna and Venice. During the plan we will bring the rail connections to ten new airports. The Alitalia project will certainly not put investments in rail transport at risk. From a financial point of view it is an investment that does not compromise sustainability. S&P has just confirmed us the Bbb rating and a stand alone Bbb + rating, higher than Italy's, considering the investment in the air carrier. Our accounts go very well: we will close 2019 in strong growth, with around 600 million in profits, up 8% and with an Ebitda up by over 100 millions compared to last year. In five years will invest 58 billions, one third of which in the South. In the last two years we have mobilized 16 billions, 7.5 of which in 2018, two thirds of which after my establishment. In 2019 we will increase to 8.4 billions, 33% more than in 2017. We have advanced 2.2 billions in spending on rolling stock by putting 240 new regional trains into service by 2023 instead of 2025 and have booked 89 regional commuter trains and 14 more speed than programs. Between 2019 installation and purchase of new security technologies, we spent 4.2 billions on infrastructure in 2019. Security is at the heart of our development plan. On punctuality we have recovered from the past. Now we make 15 points better on high speed where we are at 70%, 4 points more on the regional, 4.9 on Intercity and 5 on cargo".

Even the Italian Republic President Sergio Mattarella invited to accelerate the work stating "Too many crises, must be saved immediately".

RC3 - 1225694

AVIONEWS - World Aeronautical Press Agency