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NOVEMBER 25, 2019 / 5:05 AM / UPDATED 19 HOURS AGO Alitalia to receive additional taxpayers' money after rescuers backtrack - sources Francesca Landini 3 MIN READ MILAN, Nov 25 (Reuters) - The Italian government will lend additional money to carrier Alitalia to keep it afloat after a group of potential rescuers backtracked last week, two sources close to the matter said. By granting a new 400 million euro ($441 million) loan to the loss-making airline even if there is no buyer at the horizon, Rome will challenge state aid rules with the risk of angering the European Commission, one of the sources said. Italy’s industry ministry did not respond to a request for comment. Alitalia has already received 900 million euros from the government since May 2017, when it was put into special administration following a failed restructuring attempt. It has neither repaid this loan nor the 150 million euros in interest due on it. Despite several cost-cutting measures implemented since May 2017 by the three state-appointed administrators running it, the carrier is leaking cash and is expected to run out of money by year-end. Italian railway group Ferrovie dello Stato, which was in talks with infrastructure group Atlantia and U.S. carrier Delta Air Lines, said last week it was not yet able to form a consortium of rescuers for the carrier. Even German carrier Lufthansa, which offered a commercial partnership with Alitalia, said it was not prepared to invest in the Italian airline. After granting Ferrovie more than a year to present a plan for Alitalia, Rome has decided to appoint a new administrator and unlock 400 million euros it had earmarked for the airline subject to the condition that the railway group presented a binding offer. That condition has now been scrapped, the sources said. Without fresh financial resources the airline would face liquidation, putting at risk 11,600 jobs and creating a major headache for the government. “The industry ministry will ask the current administrators to quit to make room for a new administrator who will have the mandate to cut the carrier’s workforce and airplanes,” one of the sources said. “Rome will use the appointment of a new administrator as a way to bypass EU state aid rules and grant an additional 400 million euros to Alitalia,” the source added. Industry analysts calculate Alitalia has already burnt through roughly 9 billion of euros in taxpayers’ money. https://www.reuters.com/article/alitalia-rescue-government/alitalia-to-receive-additional-taxpayers-money-after-rescuers-backtrack-sources-idUSL8N2840RM
Sim, ele mesmo. Depois de quebrar a Avianca Brasil e perder o controle da Avianca Holdings, agora o GE quer ter uma participação na Alitalia. Mais uma capítulo da novela italiana... _____________________________________________________ German Efromovich, the ousted chairman of Colombian airline Avianca, is eyeing a comeback via Italy. Efromovich wants to buy a stake in the bankrupt Italian flag-carrier Alitalia SpA, financial daily Il Sole 24 Ore reported, citing a phone interview. "We wrote a letter to Ferrovie dello Stato and the adviser Mediobanca two weeks ago saying we can purchase up to 30% of Alitalia," said Efromovich, who was removed as the chairman of Avianca Holdings SA last month after a loan breach. "We want to join the company’s management and I’d like to be the chief executive officer, at least at the start." A 30% stake in Alitalia would require at least 240 million euros ($273 million), according to the newspaper. Italian railways operator Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane SpA is leading talks for a possible rescue of Alitalia, which is under special administration. Earlier this month, the Italian government extended the deadline for binding bids to July 15 after potential partners such as EasyJet Plc dropped out of the discussions. Efromovich, who has signed a non-disclosure agreement with Alitalia’s advisers, said he has the money needed for the investment and wouldn’t have to borrow. The Bolivian businessman still owns 78% of Avianca’s voting rights and 52% of the carrier’s capital, Il Sole 24 Ore said. In May, United Continental Holdings said that it took legal action in Bogota to dismiss Efromovich from Avianca’s board for defaulting on a $456 million loan. Efromovich purchased Avianca out of bankruptcy in 2004 and turned it around into Latin America’s second-biggest carrier. But last year, he offered his stake in the airline as collateral for a loan from United Continental, imperiling its future. Alitalia also lured interest from Toto Group, a holding that spans from renewable energies to toll-road concessions that is controlled by Italian entrepreneur Carlo Toto. After a failed attempt in 2008 of investing in Alitalia, Toto Group is now reviewing the option of investing in the carrier "relying on its entrepreneurial experience and adequate economic resources," a company’s spokesman wrote Sunday in a letter to daily Il Messaggero. (Adds Toto Group interest in the last paragraph.) https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-06-30/after-losing-avianca-bolivia-s-efromovich-eyes-alitalia-sole
The European Commission (EC) has given the US a stern warning not to take any action against Milan-based Air Italy that would prevent it flying to the US. ATW has obtained a copy of the letter, which was sent from EC Mobility and Transport director general Henrik Hololei to US State Department under secretary, economic growth, energy and environment Manisha Singh. In it, Hololei uses unusually direct language to make clear that the EC “will take all steps necessary to defend the rights of the European Union (EU), its Member States and its air carriers” under the EU-US Open Skies agreement, which permits EU country-based airlines like Air Italy to fly to any US destination and vice versa. The EC warning comes as American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines have joined forces in a campaign directed at challenging Air Italy’s flights to the US because Qatar Airways has a 49% stake in the Italian carrier. The three US majors have taken out full-page advertisements in US newspapers and lobbied Congress, claiming that Air Italy’s services are really Qatar Airways fifth freedom flights. While the US also has an Open Skies agreement with Qatar that permits fifth freedom flights, the two countries agreed to a voluntary side letter in January, 2018 in which Qatar said Qatar Airways had no plans to launch fifth freedom services to the US. EC rules permit the 49% stake that Qatar Airways has in Air Italy; Qatar Airway also has a 20% stake in International Airlines Group (IAG), which owns British Airways (BA), but the US airline campaign is not challenging BA’s right to serve the US or calling BA’s flights Qatar Airways fifth freedoms. BA is an American Airlines’ joint venture partner. Hololei, whose letter was cc’d to US Department of Transportation assistant secretary, aviation and international, Joel Szabat, tell Singh: “I have come to understand that, following persistent, but unfounded demands from certain parts of the US airline industry, the US administration is potentially considering taking measures against the services of Air Italy to the United States. In this context, I would like to bring to your attention our serious concerns. “Air Italy is an established EU carrier and its services to the US are covered by and fully consistent with the EU-US Air Transport Agreement (ATA) using 3rd and 4th freedom traffic rights between the EU and the US. Therefore, any measure to curtail or end the rights of Air Italy to serve the US would constitute a clear and serious violation of the ATA. “Such action would be unprecedented and would put into question the most fundamental principles under which our aviation relations have so successfully developed over more than 10 years. I am sure that you would agree with me that the ATA has served us all well and we are always ready to work together with you and your team on this, including on clarifying incorrect public allegations and representations made by certain market participants. “The European Commission will take all steps necessary to defend the rights of the EU, its Member States and its air carriers under the ATA.” A petition was circulated on Capitol Hill calling on the Trump administration to take action against Qatar Airways over Air Italy and US Representative Debbie Lesko (Democrat-Arizona) sent a letter to the heads of the State, Commerce and Transportation, saying that Qatar Airways’ financial support for Air Italy’s expansion into the US violated the US-Qatar Open Skies side letter. However, there has been a backlash against the US majors’ campaign, with other US airlines, airports and travel consumer organizations warning of “misleading and inaccurate” claims. “The [Lesko letter] is premised on misleading claims promoted by parties that stand to benefit financially and its fundamental basis is incompatible with the facts regarding Open Skies and contrary to the broader economic interests of the US aviation, manufacturing and tourism industries, and the millions of American customers we serve,” an aviation coalition wrote in early June. This week, a new US-United Arab Emirates (UAE) joint government statement was released in which the two countries said they “shared an ongoing commitment of the United States and the United Arab Emirates to fully maintain all aspects of their Open Skies relationship.” The significance of the statement lies in its confirmation that all rights of the original 2002 US-UAE Open Skies agreement are confirmed. American, Delta United Airlines and their affiliated labor groups had sought to freeze UAE fifth freedom rights in the agreement, which would have prevented Dubai-based Emirates from expanding its transatlantic flights. Emirates operates Dubai-Milan-New York and Dubai-Athens-New York flights. The other UAE major airline, Etihad Airways, does not operate any fifth freedoms, nor does Qatar Airways from Doha to the US, but the rights are open to all US, UAE and Qatar carriers and are a standard of Open Skies pacts. Karen Walker/ATW email@example.com https://atwonline.com/open-skies/ec-transport-chief-warns-us-not-curtail-air-italy-flights