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CLARA MOSCHINI

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The insolvency of Alitalia according to the Germans

Attendism that harms the carrier

The future of the air transport market in Italy will be decided in the short term, especially at the end of the month with the expiry of the extraordinary administration of Alitalia and in December with that of the bridge loan issued in the previous Legislature for the benefit of the airline -on which EU antitrust is investigating for possible State aid. The current Government's policy seems to be clear: to entrust the majority to one or a group of Italian companies and the minority share of the shares to a single foreign private investor, possibly US or Chinese. The former should manage the airline and study the strategies for the re-launch, the latter should finance the renewal of the fleet especially with regard to long-haul aircraft for which it will serve "put their hands to the portfolio" to buy new generation aircraft. A little bit what Qatar Airways is doing with Air Italy that by 2022 will have 47 more aircraft, including 30 Boeing B-787 Dreamliner for long-haul connections, creating an additional pool of competition for the "new" Alitalia, that should focus especially on those drawn since they are the most profitable.

In all this what appeared to be the number one candidate for the acquisition of the former national airline, or Lufthansa is changing its route towards Italy preferring -as reported by German newspaper "Handelsblatt"- investing 100 million euros on small Air Dolomiti, which will buy 20 new Embraer E-195 regional aircraft, which will try to make further competition in the short-haul sector from Verona airport. The plan that the German group had for Alitalia, however, did not reflect the principles for which the government representatives continue to "fight", since Lufthansa would completely restructure the airline by laying off nearly 3000 employees and aiming for the medium range. A solution that for the former Minister of Economic Development Carlo Calenda would have been the best, not so much for the loss of jobs -obviously a damage- as for the prospects of remaining operational being part of a solid and powerful Group in air transport.

Alitalia's attendance and current weakness, for which it is not known what formula will ultimately be found by the Government, is not good for the airline that risks being crushed by the long-range domestic competition carried by Air Italy, medium-range Ryanair -which in the last year has increased its presence in Italy by 25%- and on the short-range by Air Dolomiti, which has part of Lufthansa Group.

M/A - 1214832

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