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What next for Alitalia?

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Italy gives new loan and extends bid deadline
A deadline for bids for the bankrupt airline Alitalia was due today, but in a last-minute move, the Italian cabinet has given an additional bridge loan to the airline. Alitalia’s struggles have been overshadowed in recent weeks by serious problems at Ryanair, Air Berlin and Monarch.
Italy passed an emergency decree to add a bridge loan for a further €300 million to the loan of €600 million it made to the company in May. It also extended the repayment deadline from this November to September 2018.
The deadline for potential buyers to present offers to buy Alitalia, meanwhile, was extended from today to April 30 next year.
Speculation continues as to who would buy the Italian flag carrier, which has so far racked up losses of more than €3 billion. Ryanair initially said it would bid but now says it is no longer interested.
Meanwhile, Lufthansa’s chief executive Carsten Spohr commented last week that the German airline would be interested in creating a ‘new Alitalia’, though not in its present form.
Since Lufthansa is busy with Air Berlin and expanding its subsidiary Eurowings, the Italian government’s extension of the deadline for bids could be a way to give potential bidders more time. However, any bid by Lufthansa could be stopped by EU competition regulators and others who think the German carrier is gaining too much market power.
BBC / Reuters

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