Etihad wins EU approval of Alitalia stake deal
13 Nov 2014
(MENAFN) Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways is set to win conditional EU antitrust approval for its purchase of 49 percent of Alitalia in a USD2.19 billion rescue plan for the loss-making Italian carrier, Emirates 24/7 reported.
The deal between the two airlines is expected to provide Alitalia with money, which the carrier is planning to invest in more profitable long-haul routes, thus making it less dependent on domestic and regional services, where it currently faces strong competition from low-cost carriers as well as fast trains.
While in case of Etihad, the deal will help it in strengthening its presence in Europe’s fourth-largest travel market with 25 million passengers.
The European Commission antitrust authority is expected to give its approval after Etihad, which already has minority stakes in Air Berlin, Ireland’s Aer Lingus, Virgin Australia and other airlines, offered to give up some airport slots on the Rome-Belgrade route to ease the competition with its other rivals.