Italy Close to Deal With EU on New Alitalia, Messaggero Reports

Italy is nearing a deal with the European Union to set up a new national carrier from failed airline Alitalia SpA and may get an informal go-ahead by next week, newspaper Il Messaggero reported on Sunday.

Talks with the European Commission to green-light Alitalia’s planned restart have been mired in a standstill after several rounds of meetings. EU officials are demanding a clear separation between the assets and personnel of the bankrupt airline and its replacement, to be know as Italia Trasporto Aereo SpA, or ITA.

The new carrier may initially employ between 4,500 and 5,000 staff and have about 55 to 60 aircraft, according to the newspaper. The EU is requesting that the airline doesn’t hold a majority stake in the handling or maintenance activities of ITA.

READ: Alitalia Risks Missing Summer Bump as Restart Talks Stall (1)

The carrier is in talks with Deutsche Lufthansa AG and Delta Air Lines Inc. about commercial partnerships, according to Messaggero.

Corriere della Sera also reported on the negotiations, citing Delta and United Airlines Holdings Inc. as possible candidates for partnerships in the key U.S. market. Delta confirmed to the newspaper that it is in talks with the Italian airline to “consolidate and deepen our relationship.” United didn’t provide any comment.

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