Air France-KLM Open to Merger With Alitalia, Form Three-Hub Airline Group
Air France-KLM, which owns 25% of Alitalia and holds four seats on its board, is open to assuming control of the struggling Italian carrier “under certain condition,” Air-France-KLM CEO Alexandre de Juniac said in a television interview.
Speaking on France’s LCI 24-hour television news channel, de Juniac said that the “integration of Alitalia would allow Alitalia [to continue in] its rightful role.”
De Juniac envisions a three-hub airline, with a major presence at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, Schiphol in Amsterdam, and Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino in Rome. He said he wants Alitalia to continue to be a long-haul carrier and that anything else would be “catastrophic” for both Italy and the airline.
On Friday, Alitalia announced €500 million in new funding on Friday, a move that was approved by its shareholders this week. The plan keeps the airline operating but it still needs a major restructuring in order to remain viable over the long term.
De Juniac termed a merger with a larger airline or group “essential.”
Air France-KLM unsuccessfully attempted to take control of Alitalia five years ago when the airline was in similar straits. When the takeover failed, the group ended up with a 25% stake in Alitalia.
(Photo: Accura Media Group)