Troubled Italian flag carrier, Alitalia, which has been operating under the country’s version of Chapter 11 bankruptcy, is charting a new course, dropping some unprofitable routes and possibly getting closer to major carriers, including Delta, that are fellow Skyteam members.
“We’re still alive and kicking,” Alitalia Chief Business Officer Fabio Maria Lazzerini said at a press briefing in New York.
The government has provided the carrier with a $900 million bridge loan, and it recently extended the deadline for repayment until next June to give it time to find an investor. Recent news reports have suggested that the Italian railway system is likely to take a significant stake, but that two airlines – Delta and easyJet – have also expressed interest in a potential investment.
Delta already has ties with the Italian carrier through the Skyteam alliance, and Lazzerini hinted that those ties might get closer. Delta's partnerships with Air France-KLM and Virgin Atlantic could provide other opportunities for Alitalia.
Meanwhile, Alitalia will begin service between Washington, D.C., and Rome on May 2, with five flights a week. These are the airline’s first flights joining the capital cities, Lazzerini pointed out, although the carrier previously flew to Washington from Milan.