Etihad reply to Alitalia rekindles Air France interest

Future involvement possible if Abu Dhabi invests

(ANSAmed) - PARIS/ROME, APRIL 30 - Air France's managing director has told Les Echos in an interview that it may re-invest in Italian carrier Alitalia, depending on the outcome of talks between the Italian flagship carrier and Etihad. Alitalia is negotiating with Abu Dhabi's Etihad after Air France-KLM refused to take part in a capital increase last year, and the negotiations will continue after a letter received from Abu Dhabi on Tuesday. ''I am looking forward to seeing what comes of it,'' he said, noting that Air France-KLM had set conditions similar to Etihad's.
    Italy's minister of transport Maurizio Lupi said that ''any alliance will be assessed on the basis of an industrial plan, which cannot be a relaunch and development plan'' for Alitalia, an airline ''which must regain its rightful place as a large international company'' and not a ''regional one''.
    Etihad's plan ''will be assessed from this standpoint''. Lupi said that ''any potential Etihad-Alitalia alliance will be one that the government holds to be complementary and strategic for possible expansion''. (ANSAmed).


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