Alitalia has launched sales of Malpensa, Milan airport slots today - minister


Milan (Thomson Financial) - Italy's infrastructure minister Antonio Di Pietro said Alitalia SpA has today started selling slots it does not intend using at Milan's Malpensa airport because of a scaling down of its operations there.

Earlier today, there was a newspaper report, citing the Assoclearance association which distributes slots, saying Alitalia was going to sell a number of slots at the Malpensa airport.

Alitalia officials have not been able to comment on the possibility of selling Malpensa slots.

Alitalia's downscaling at Malpensa, including via a possible tie-up with the government's favoured privatisation bidder Air France-KLM, has prompted complaints from north Italy politicians.

Di Pietro said the government should call a roundtable meeting with interested parties on the strategy to follow for Malpensa.

The privatisation of Alitalia has to be dealt with at the same time as dealing with Malpensa's future, he said, adding that the weak state of Alitalia is preventing a relaunch of Malpensa.

Alitalia's sale of slots no longer used by the airline will not be reversible, he said.

The government crisis does not justify further delays, he said.

The centre-left government tendered its resignation last week, though continues in place until a new appointment, overseeing ordinary administration.

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