Air France Offers Alitalia $1B Boost

Struggling Italian airline weighs competing bids from Air France, Air One
By Lucas Laursen,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 17, 2007 8:26 AM CST
A general view of empty Alitalia airline check-in counters during Italian airline's flight attendants 24-hour strike, at Rome's Fiumicino international airport, Thursday, May 3, 2007. (AP Photo/Gregorio...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Air France-KLM Group sweetened its bid for troubled Italian airline Alitalia today with a plan to raise $1.08 billion to upgrade aircraft and relaunch the brand, and a vow not to cut jobs. Air France is competing with Italy's No. 2 air carrier, Air One, to buy out the Italian government's 49.9% stake in the airline, which has posted losses 9 years running.  Air One’s plan offered a larger investment but would cut 2,000 jobs.

An analyst called Air France-KLM’s offer more realistic, saying “Air France is more experienced with turnaround situations after its own turnaround in the 1990s, and with mergers following its purchase of KLM in 2004.” Alitalia’s chairman and a major pilot union support the bid, but some politicians and business leaders want the company to remain in Italian hands, reports Bloomberg.