Alitalia secures rescue with long-awaited Etihad deal

Written by Reuters | Rome | Updated: Aug 10 2014, 07:25am hrs
Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways will buy almost half of Alitalia and invest 560 million euros into the lossmaking Italian airline in a turnaround effort that will involve heavy job losses under a long-delayed deal signed on Friday.

The two airlines have been in talks for nearly a year, but a final agreement was held up by negotiations over thousands of job cuts and debt restructuring. After much effort, a year of work and many late nights, we did it, Alitalia CEO Gabriele Del Torchio told reporters after the signing of the deal attended by chairman Roberto Colaninno and Etihad CEO James Hogan. Alitalia has made an annual profit only a few times in its 68-year history and received numerous state hand-outs before being privatised in 2008.