“Etihad Airways is in discussions with Alitalia,” the Abu Dhabi carrier said in a statement. “We have no further comment at this time.”
Gaining the Abu Dhabi-based airline as an investor would support Alitalia’s efforts to repair finances hurt by years of losses and mounting competition from low-cost rivals. Etihad is considering a cash contribution of about €300 million ($410 million), people familiar with the talks have said.
Etihad chief executive officer James Hogan has built a string of equity investment spanning Serbia to Australia, helping to funnel more traffic through its Gulf hub. The deals also let Etihad bundle purchases of aircraft and equipment.
Etihad already holds stakes in Air Berlin, Virgin Australia Holdings, Jet Airways India, Aer Lingus Group, Air Serbia and Air Seychelles as it seeks to feed the Abu Dhabi hub, and agreed last month to buy Darwin Airline of Switzerland and rebrand it as Etihad Regional.
The company currently manages 9% of the world’s handling capacity
The codeshare agreement unlocks enhanced connectivity for the passengers of both airlines
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