Alitalia and Wind Jet haggle over asking price

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Executives from Italian carriers Alitalia and Wind Jet are locked in talks as they attempt to salvage a takeover deal aimed at securing the latter's future.

The acquisition of Sicily-based Wind Jet had appeared to be a formality last month after Italy's anti-trust authority gave the green light for the deal. However, as a condition of its approval, the combined business would be forced to relinquish a total of five slot pairs.

Because of this, Wind Jet is now worth less, according to an Alitalia spokesman. The two sides are attempting to renegotiate the asking price with an announcement anticipated in the coming days.

"We are keen to resolve this situation," he adds. "We are discussing the new value of Wind Jet."

However, should the deal not proceed, there are doubts about the viability of Wind Jet. Italian civil aviation regulator ENAC earlier issued a statement saying it was carefully monitoring the situation after flights were cancelled by the Sicilian carrier last week.

It adds: "While we have not given an ultimatum, ENAC wants the negotiations concluded in the shortest time possible to avoid further inconvenience to passengers who purchased tickets with low-cost carrier."

ENAC has asked British Airways and EasyJet to assist in easing the service disruption to passengers.

Wind Jet could not immediately be reached for comment.

Alitalia had originally planned a three-way tie-up with Wind Jet and Blue Panorama, but failed to find agreement with the latter.