Montezemolo, there is no alternative to Etihad

Italy needs a carrier for 'Italian tourists and businessmen'

(ANSA) - Rome, June 23 - Alitalia has no other choice but to accept the investment proposed by Etihad Airways, and the conditions it imposes, Ferrari President Luca Cordero di Montezemolo told the Financial Times newspaper.
    "There is no alternative for Alitalia," he told the newspaper.
    "The last four years have been very, very bad for Alitalia," added Montezemolo, who denied rumours last week that he could be the struggling airline's next chairman.
    After months of negotiations and rumours, Alitalia's board has accepted an investment of about 560 million euros from the Abu Dhabi-based Etihad - and conditions that include renegotiation of part of the Italian carrier's massive debt and about 2,251 layoffs. All parties said they are hoping for a deal by mid-July.
    Montezemolo said that it was not important who ultimately owns Alitalia.
    "What is crucial for Italian tourists and businessmen is to have a competitive company that will take them anywhere," he said.
    Montezemolo told the newspaper that he was asked last year by Enrico Letta, then premier, to use his connections in Abu Dhabi to sound out Etihad as a possible investor in Alitalia.
    "I have a big passion for Abu Dhabi. My personal relationship with that country is very deep," said Montezemolo.