Potential investors in Italian carrier Alitalia have been given a little more time. According to reports this week, the Italian industry ministry has postponed the deadline until October the 15th, citing differences of opinion between the key investors as the reason for the delay.
A new deadline for Alitalia
The deadline for potential investors to make a play for Alitalia has been pushed back for the sixth time. According to Air Transport World Online, the new deadline is October 15h, giving parties a good month to get their business cases together.
A union source told ATW,
“The economic development ministry has announced another delay, to Oct. 15.”
Previously it was expected for a proposal to be submitted by the start of this week. Delta Air Lines, Italian railway group Ferrovie dello Stato and Atlantia, an infrastructure group, had reportedly been discussion potential rescue plans for the past few weeks.
This is the sixth time that the deadline for submissions has been delayed, leaving the beleaguered carrier under special administration for longer.
Why has it been delayed again?
According to reporting by Reuters, unnamed sources said that the Italian partners were struggling to see eye to eye with Delta, particularly in regards to the airline’s development on routes to the US. Apparently they also conflicted over the money that would need to be injected into the carrier in order to turn things around.
Rumors of a deadline extension first started circulating in August, when one of the consortium meetings was postponed at short notice, Airline Geeks report that this happened without any formal explanation. They point to a number of other matters of contention that could be hampering progress.
These included demands from the Italian stakeholders for Delta to increase its investment over the €100m already committed, While Delta are apparently not completely against the idea, they are demanding a minimum of one third of the management positions, something that the Italians are probably not too happy about.
Then there’s the issue of Alitalia’s SkyTeam membership and how it would be positioned within the Delta-Virgin Atlantic-Air France-KLM joint venture. While the Italian airline is not currently involved in this agreement, Airline Geeks say it could be inducted through an agreement with Delta. This would put the US airline firmly in the driving seat of Alitalia’s US route development, which may not be what the Italian partners want.
Alitalia’s long haul routes performing well
While all this is going on, Alitalia has just this week posted marked improvements in passenger revenues, largely due to success in long haul routes. As reported by GTP, the carrier achieved a 2.5% increase in passenger revenue across August compared to the same period last year.
Alitalia reported a total of 2 million [passengers carried in August 2019, up 0.4% over last year’s figures. In a statement the airline said,
“The results achieved in August were driven by the excellent performance on the long-haul routes sector, which recorded an increase in the number of carried passengers by 5.4 percent compared to August 2018 and by 7.3 percent compared to 2017,
With the airline clearly doing everything it can to keep itself afloat, it’s time for the consortium to get its act together and put a good rescue deal on the table for Alitalia.