PARIS, May 16 (Reuters) - Air France-KLM has ruled out stepping in to save near-bankrupt Alitalia, with its chief executive telling shareholders on Tuesday that its past experience of cross-shareholdings and a failed merger plan would discourage it from investing directly in Italy again.
In 2008 Air France-KLM walked away from a planned takeover of Alitalia after talks with the Italian carrier’s unions broke down.
Earlier this month Alitalia went into administration for the second time in less than a decade after workers rejected a restructuring plan.
“I don’t think the past experience of either KLM or Air France in their relations with Alitalia encourages us to repeat the experience of a direct presence in Italy, especially since Alitalia’s market share in Italy and Europe and in long-haul have fallen sharply and we can capture the Italian market through our CDG (Paris) and Schiphol (Amsterdam) hubs,” said Air France-KLM Chief Executive Jean-Marc Janaillac.
“We will watch what happens with the administrators in the next six months and adjust our position accordingly,” he told an annual shareholder meeting.
Alitalia remains a partner in the Franco-Dutch group’s North Atlantic joint venture with Delta Air Lines. (Reporting by Cyril Altmeyer, Tim Hepher; Editing by Greg Mahlich)