Alitalia has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the board of directors of Air Malta and the Government of Malta to complete a comprehensive due diligence with the possible intention of becoming a 49% shareholder in the Maltese airline. Once the due diligence is complete, the Boards of Alitalia and Air Malta will make a decision on whether to proceed with an undertaking.
Alitalia’s CEO Cramer Ball said: “There are strong cultural and commercial bonds between Italy and Malta, and this MOU is a first and important step, but we will only make a decision once we have completed an exhaustive examination of a possible deal. We will need to establish unequivocally that a deal with Air Malta will not undermine the progress of our three year turnaround programme, or prejudice our financial position. Until then, it’s business as usual. We are on track to become a profitable entity by 2017 and we need to look and plan for the future, which is why we have decided to look closely to see whether Air Malta can fit into our strategic growth, particularly how our networks can complement each other in areas such as southern Italy. The future of the commercial aviation industry has to be one of consolidation, and for us to prosper we must examine opportunities where we believe we can offer a wider reach for our customers”.
Dr. Zammit Lewis, Malta Minister of Tourism said: “This is one step of the process and there is still a long way to go. We have now signed an MOU with Alitalia which means we will cease talks with other airlines and start detailed discussions”.