Air France KLM offers to acquire Alitalia

Troubled Italian carrier, Alitalia, may finally have a new owner; Air France KLM has become the first airline to make an offer for it and its rivals as well as private buyout firms are also expected to follow suit.

The French-Dutch Air France-KLM said it would send a non-binding letter of interest to Alitalia today, which will be submitted to the Italian carrier's board of directors.

“This proposal is being made to a major commercial partner, with which mutually beneficial agreements were signed in 2001 on air services between France and Italy, and the SkyTeam global alliance“ said a communiqué from the airline said from Air France KLM.       

It added, “Air France-KLM wishes to share with Alitalia the benefits of the profitable growth strategy it has successfully implemented over the last four years.  As for Alitalia, by joining Air France-KLM, it would be part of the world's leading air transport group, thus strengthening its position.“

The communiqué specifically said that through this partnership with the Air France-KLM Group and its investments, Alitalia would be able to develop a business plan in line with the founding principles of the Survival and Transition Plan prepared by the Alitalia chairman Maurizio Prato and his management team. 
It said that the purpose of this project was first for Alitalia to win back the Italian market, thanks in particular to the profitable development of its network, “reputation of its brand and to the assertion of its Italian identity“.

In October, Alitalia had identified six possible bidders as it tried to resuscitate efforts to sell the state''s 49-per cent stake to a private investor, after three potential bidders that included Aeroflot and Lufthansa withdrew in succession from an auction in July for the Italian carrier over conditions attached to the sale, lack of clarity about the airlines' finances and obligations regarding future services. (See: Alitalia auction closes without a serious bidder)