EuroDiplomat

Alitalia’s future relies on Italian politics

The national Italian carrier has been flying in cloudy skies. Ops, I’m not actually talking about clouds here. It’s a well-known fact that the company is on the brink of bankruptcy. Many scenarios have been drawn to save this old and prestigious brand. However, the carrier’s future might be compromised by domestic politics.

The auction that will identify the best bidder is supposed to take place on April 30. It should be noted that Alitalia has been under some sort of special administration since last year. This deadline is likely to prove itself too early. Why? Because both main political parties (5 Star and the League) are expressing their dissatisfaction with the idea of selling such a national asset to foreign investors. The potential buyers are Lufthansa (Germany), Easyjet (UK) and Cerberus (US).

Italian policymakers are against the deal because the future investors already made publicly available documents that state the need for urgent restructuring of Alitalia. In plain English, the successful bidder will downsize many positions within the company.

If such stalemate remains, Italian authorities might postpone the deadline to September 2018.

It will be difficult to identify a common ground any time soon once negotiations are overwhelmed with emotions. Italian politicians might be overrating the carrier’s brand. If they can not accept a modernization plan Alitalia runs the risk of disappearing as many other companies.

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