Editor in chief:
CLARA MOSCHINI

Aircraft. Alitalia could buy Air Malta. Islanders hostile to the project; fear of cut-offs

Rome, Italy - The skepticism of the president of Maltese the hoteliers and restaurateurs Tony Zahra

Alitalia could be in Air Malta: the decision had been announced by time and confirmed by the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding last month between representatives of the two air carriers. On May 30, at the opening of the new airport lounge house Alitalia at Rome-Fiumicino Airport the president Montezemolo had said about the acquisition: "We started two diligences, it will take some time, I think two months to take a decision on the possible entry with 49% in Air Malta". The island company does not sail in good water and for months was looking for a partner for privatization, but the agreement does not seem possible to be successful. Yesterday was held a Maltese tourist industry summit to discuss the issue and the first to express his skepticism was the president of the hoteliers and restaurateurs Tony Zahra, not convinced of the merits of this buyout minority. In press conference he has raised several questions, first of all because the Maltese carrier can not remain national. "Where will be based after the acquisition?", asked Zahra. The question remains unresolved, but others will doubt clarified before the agreement to take effect. What will be the fate of Air Malta workers? The partial privatization would cause the detachment of the department of engineering and ground staff section, which would no longer be part of the airline. The workers concerned fear a repeat of the same fate of Enemalta employees, Maltese power company, whose 33% was acquired by China's Shanghai Electric, which operated a mass layoff. Yesterday was requested assurances but none of the speakers at the meeting gave a definitive answer according to sources inside the unions present at the meeting, but a final decision is expected at the end of technical interviews in the end of next month. Alitalia, which until a few years ago was on the brink of bankruptcy, is now at 49% of Etihad Airways properties, crucial acquisition for the Italian airline survival. We are still in a decision-making phase and there have been many conflicting statements of the last period, just think that as reported by the "Times of Malta" two weeks ago Montezemolo would have aroused much controversy after the recent talks with the vertices of Air Malta calling the agreement a "Risk-free deal" and saying that the Italian carrier you would not have invested a single Euro.

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