Alitalia 'to invest 400mn in 2016'

'Regions wanting to keep loss-making routes should pay'

(ANSA) - Rome, March 3 - Alitalia President Luca Cordero di Montezemolo told Corriere TV Thursday the company plans to make investments of 400 million euros this year "on routes, planes and services". The airline ended 2015 with expected losses of 200 million euros, he added. The first two months of 2016 are also in line with expectations. "The aim is to close out 2017 with the company returned to profit, which would be a historic event," the executive said.
    Alitalia is shutting down unprofitable routes, Montezemolo said.
    "Unfortunately there are a lot of them, especially on the national level," he explained.
    He added that regions wanting to preserve unprofitable Alitalia routes should contribute to their upkeep.
    "There are cases - especially in regions without high-speed rail such as Calabria and Friuli - where we cancel a loss-making route but if the region believes it to be essential, we will lay out our needs and, just as hundreds of millions are given to Ferrovie dello Stato (public rail company), Alitalia should be given what it needs - that's market logic," Montezemolo said.
    Alitalia is now a private company operating on economic returns and "a corporate culture where merit, competence and skill are key," he said.
    "So out with politics, out with the parties - it's not easy, but that's how it has to be," the executive said.