Air France-KLM is in advanced talks for a takeover of Alitalia, of which it already owns 25%, by summer 2013, according to a report by Il Messaggero. Alitalia is currently controlled by an investment consortium, CAI, which includes Air France-KLM, which purchased the airline in 2008 when it was insolvent. On 12-Jan-2013, a lock-up of shares in the airline is to expire which will allow shares to be sold. Air France-KLM reportedly has offered other shareholders in the airline a 20% premium over the purchase price of their initial investments in Alitalia in 2008 in order to take over the airline. Meanwhile former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said he opposed a takeover of Alitalia by a foreign group, stating via Facebook on 06-Jan-2013, “Our country cannot afford not having its own flagship airline. If Alitalia had fallen into the hands of the French...many tourists would have ended up visiting the castles in the Loire valley instead of our cities of art". [more - original PR - Italian]
Air France-KLM in advanced talks for a takeover of Alitalia: report
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Ryanair's 117million pax in 2016 tops European airline groups. The first time an LCC topped rankings
For the first time ever in Europe, in 2016 a low cost airline carried more passengers than any other airline or airline group, as Ryanair's 117 million passengers pushed Lufthansa Group's 110 million into second place. Ryanair had beaten Lufthansa itself, but not the whole Lufthansa Group. IAG's first full year of including Aer Lingus helped it to take third place from Air France-KLM. Europe's number two LCC, easyJet, was ranked fifth.
The big five can be expanded into a big seven to include Turkish Airlines and the Aeroflot Group, although these two had contrasting growth rates in 2016. A chasing pack of middle sized airline groups includes three LCCs (Norwegian, Pegasus and Wizz Air) and three legacy airlines with varying challenges to establishing sustainable profitability (SAS, Air Berlin Group and Alitalia).
Most of the faster growing airline groups in the top 20 are LCCs and the main growth drivers for Europe's big three legacy groups are their LCC subsidiaries. Just outside the top 20 are some fast growing legacy airlines in Eastern Europe, demonstrating the potential there. Nevertheless, unless there is a big merger or acquisition, Ryanair looks set to remain at number one for some time.
Alitalia: "everyone has to pull in the same direction" – ongoing issues, and viability is at stake.
After Alitalia’s board approved the second phase of its business plan on 22-Dec-2016, CEO Cramer Ball stressed the importance of achieving the support of its workforce. He said, “Everyone has to pull in the same direction to make Alitalia a viable, sustainable success story and help the airline achieve its ambition of long-term growth and profitability”. Alitalia suffered strike action from some flight crew in 2016.
Full details of the plan, which has received the support of Italy's government, have not yet been made public. Alitalia's network strategy includes further long haul growth and a reworking of its short haul operation, with an emphasis on feeding long haul via Rome and Milan. Other elements of the plan include cost-cutting, reduced headcount and possible changes to joint venture agreements. Details are to be presented to Alitalia’s workforce in Jan-2017.
Also on 22-Dec-2016, Alitalia's shareholders approved short-term funding and gave management 60 days to begin negotiations with key stakeholders - lessors, suppliers and distribution companies, in addition to trade unions. Alitalia needs their support for deep cost reduction measures, in order to win the long-term financing needed to secure the airline's future.