Alitalia to 'return to profit by 2017'

20 Jan 2015 by GrahamSmith

Alitalia and Etihad Airways today unveiled a strategic plan to bring the Italian carrier back into profit by 2017.

The plan will see Alitalia adopt new branding that will "symbolise the best of Italy... food, wine, culture, fashion, style, architecture, design and technology".

The three-year plan will firstly focus on debt and cost reduction and productivity improvements this year. Next year, it is hoped Alitalia will break even before returning to profit in 2017.

The struggling airline will forge closer links with fellow Etihad partner Air Berlin and increase flights from Catania, Rome, Milan, Venice and Bologna to Abu Dhabi to take advantage of Etihad's international network.

Luca di Montezemolo, Alitalia's president, said: "Catania is going to play a key role. Small and medium-sized enterprises in Italy require mobility and access to global markets but you have to give them the right tools."

Alitalia will sell 14 A320 aircraft to Air Berlin, it was revealed.

Etihad's 49 per cent stake in Alitalia was approved by the European Commission in November, clearing the way for the Gulf airline to invest €560 million (£448 million) to save Alitalia from bankruptcy (see news, November 17).

James Hogan, Etihad's CEO, said today: "We wouldn't have invested in Alitalia if we hadn't thought the industrial plan would be successful. I've been told not to say it but I do believe Alitalia can be the sexiest brand in Europe in aviation."

Etihad and Alitalia will this year operate a combined 35 weekly flightsbetween Abu Dhabi and Italy (see news, November 20).,

Graham Smith

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