SYDNEY Jan 9 Alitalia and its shareholders are
to present its new business plan to the Italian government on
Monday, top investor Etihad Airways said.
Italy's loss-making national carrier approved on Dec. 22 a
short-term financing deal and a new strategy, including job
cuts, that allowed it to start negotiations with stakeholders.
Alitalia and its investors are meeting with
Italian government ministers to explain the plan, Etihad said in
an emailed statement to Reuters on Monday.
The Abu Dhabi airline will be represented by its top
executive James Hogan, who is also Vice Chairman of Alitalia.
Led by Hogan, state-owned Etihad bought a 49 percent stake
in Alitalia in 2014 as part of a 1.76 billion euro ($1.85
billion) rescue plan for the loss-making airline.
Etihad had pledged to return it to profit by 2017 by slashing
costs, turning Rome into an intercontinental hub and adding more
lucrative long-haul connections.
But two years later, Alitalia is losing at least half a
million euros a day and may remain unprofitable for another two
to three years, sources have said.
"It is vitally important that the airline's workforce and
major stakeholders, such as corporate partners, suppliers and
unions, embrace and accept the radical changes we need in order
to gain the next round of significant funding from our
shareholders, which will be crucial for our future," Alitalia
Chief Executive Cramer Ball said on Dec. 22.
Etihad, Alitalia's single largest shareholder, is pushing to
turn around the airline. Proposals include cutting up to 2,000
jobs and some unprofitable routes and grounding at least 20
planes, sources have said.
There is scepticism whether Alitalia will be able to push
through its latest turnaround plan without significant
resistance from influential unions.
Alitalia did not immediately respond to an emailed request
Etihad said the "full details will be unveiled to the
Alitalia workforce later this week."
(Reporting by Jamie Freed in Sydney, Writing by Alexander
Cornwell in Dubai, editing by Louise Heavens)