Alitalia says ‘needs a few weeks’ before closing Etihad deal

June 11, 2014 12:19 am

Alitalia chief executive, Gabriele del Torchio has said the airline needs a few weeks to seal a deal with Etihad which could see the Abu Dhabi airline invest €560m ($762m) in its struggling Italian peer in return for hefty job cuts, Reuters has reported. “I am confident … that we will finish the agreements in a few weeks,” Del Torchio said in Rome’s Senate. Etihad, which already has stakes in Air Berlin and Aer Lingus, is proposing to invest up to €560m in Alitalia, which was kept flying by a government-engineered €500m rescue package last year, Del Torchio said. Alitalia, which employs 14,000 people, was once a national icon whose staff wore uniforms designed by Giorgio Armani, but is now seen as a symbol of the country’s economic malaise.