It’s down to the wire for control of Italy’s bankrupt flag carrier Alitalia

The long-running saga concerning control of the bankrupt (but operating) Italian airline Alitalia could be nearing an end soon. The flag carrier may soon have new owners, the Italian train operator Ferrovie dello Stato (FS), along partners Delta Air Lines and European budget carrier Easyjet. The parties and their consultants are working on the agreement right now.

Alitalia has been in crisis for years. It missed out on the European airline consolidation of a few years ago, which led to the Air France-KLM and British Air-Iberia alliances. A previous co-owner, Etihad, divested itself of its Alitalia holding in 2017 following employee rejection of a revival plan, which included significant layoffs.

Alongside Alitalia and its general counsel, Paolo Quaini is a team at the Italian law firm Gianni Origoni Grippo Cappelli & Partners, led by partner Roberto Cappelli. FS, according to sources, is the Milan office of the New York-based megafirm Cleary Gottlieb, led by partner Giuseppe Scassellati Sforzolini. Sources have told our partner that Easyjet’s counsel is the British firm Clifford Chance.

Earlier this week, FS stated, ‘In light of the confirmation of interest received by Delta Air Lines and easyJet to be industrial partners of Fs Italiane in the Alitalia operation, the Board of Directors of Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane met and resolved to start negotiations with the aforementioned companies Airlines, in order to continue with the definition of the main elements of the new Alitalia plan “.

Meanwhile, the government has announced its willingness to participate in the establishment of a new entity, Nuova Alitalia, conditional on the sustainability of the business plan and in accordance with European rules.