Italy names Alitalia commissioners, announces 600 mn euro bridge loan

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Italy names Alitalia commissioners, announces 600 mn euro bridge loan

The cabinet also approved a 600 million euro bridging loan over six months, until a buyer is found or a decision is taken to liquidate Alitalia.

Speaking after the cabinet meeting, Italy’s Centre-Left Premier Paolo Gentiloni repeated that Alitalia would not be nationalised following its workers’ rejection last week of a restructuring plan to keep the airline in business.

“The government’s role does not envision re-nationalising Alitalia. We ruled that out from the start and we rule it out today,” he said.

“But we have a responsibility to ensure certain essential services for our country, crucial air links, tickets that have been purchased, during the special administration period,” Gentiloni added.

Alitalia announced it was making a formal request to enter administration proceedings on Tuesday after a shareholder meeting unanimously agreed to take the step.

The airline said on Tuesday its flight schedule would remain unchanged.

Alitalia is losing around one million euros a day. It was privatised in 2009 and has gone through several restructurings. The company has made an annual profit only a few times in its 70-year history and has received over 7 billion euros from the Italian state over the past decade.

So far there has been little interest shown by rival airlines including Lufthansa and Norwegian Air in buying Alitalia, which is struggling to compete at home against low-cost carriers Ryanair and EasyJet.

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