Alitalia and Etihad Airways have confirmed that they’ve received merger clearance from the European Commission (EC) under EU Regulation No. 139/2004; allowing them to move ahead with the proposed strategic partnership the two carriers announced in August.
After completing its review, the EC indicated that the partnership complies with the European regulations on competition. In line with previous cases, the airlines undertook commitments aimed at facilitating the entry of new airlines on the Rome to Belgrade route.
The parties continue to work together with a view to completing the transaction before the end of the year.
James Hogan, president and CEO of Etihad Airways, said: “We are delighted to be able to move forward with this process and look forward to a positive outcome and the final conclusion of our transaction with Alitalia.
Hogan continued: “An equity investment in Alitalia will be beneficial not only for the both airlines, but, more importantly, it will give more choice and broader travel opportunities to business and leisure travellers into and out of Italy.”
Alitalia’s CEO, Gabriele del Torchio commented: “This is an excellent outcome for Alitalia. This investment will provide financial stability and a foundation for impressive long-term growth for the Company and for the travel and tourism industry in Italy, in which Alitalia is a fundamental player.
And he added: “Today’s decision by the EU approves the largest ever foreign investment in Alitalia and demonstrates huge confidence in the future of the national carrier.”