This morning, Alitalia announced that it will not be renewing its partnership with Air France-KLM which is set to expire in January 2017. CEO Silvano Cassano had this to say:
These agreements are no longer beneficial, either commercially or strategically, to the new Alitalia and its ambitious turnaround plan. They were negotiated when Alitalia was in a very different position, with the result that the agreements in their current forms favor the other party. The Air-France KLM route agreements are undermining our ability to restructure our network and the airline effectively to achieve the long term sustainability of our business.
Of course, Etihad acquired a 49% stake in Alitalia last year and is currently implementing their own turn-around plan. The CEO did note that they would be open to further discussions which are mutually beneficial to both partners.
To be clear, the end of the partnership does not mean the end of codeshares with Air France or KLM. Additionally, Alitalia has a separate contract with Delta with a later expiration. Finally, the transatlantic JV (which includes all three parties and Delta) is also not impacted…for now. We’ll have to wait and see how Etihad management handles all of these in the future.
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