Lupi says positive noises coming from EU on Alitalia deal

Airline hopes for approval of tie-up with Etihad this month

(ANSA) - Rome, November 11 - Transport Minister Maurizio Lupi said Tuesday that he was optimistic the European Commission would approve a deal between Alitalia and Abu Dhabi-based airline Etihad.
    "We do not know anything yet...I am getting positive noises," he told ANSA outside the Lower House.
    "We will know on the 17th".
    The EC is expected to give its decision on November 17 as to whether it will allow the deal to go ahead.
    Sources have said the Italian airline will hold shareholder meetings on November 20 and 26 to ratify the nominations of Luca Cordero de Montezemolo as the next president of the Italian carrier, and James Hogan, the chief executive officer (CEO) of Etihad as vice-president.
    Earlier this year, Etihad invested 560-million euros for a 49% stake in Alitalia and has pledged to invest much more over coming years in the troubled Italian carrier.
    In return, Etihad gains access to lucrative European routes through its Alitalia partnership.
   

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