Alitalia board green-lights contract negotiations with Etihad

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Alitalia and Etihad Airways have edged closer to a deal after the Italian flag carrier’s board gave chairman Roberto Colaninno and chief executive Gabriele Del Torchio a mandate to negotiate a contract.

The Abu Dhabi airline’s proposed investment was formally approved by Alitalia during a 13 June board meeting at which the financial statement for 2013 was also rubber-stamped for presentation on 29 June.

“Provisions and asset write-downs” of €233 million ($315 million) have also been confirmed “in preparation for future strategies”, says the carrier.

Alitalia directors had previously “expressed their appreciation” for a proposal of investment by Etihad. The two sides have been in negotiations since February.

In a recent interview with newspaper La Stampa, Italian transport minister Maurizio Lupi indicated that Etihad was poised to invest $1.25 billion in Altalia over a period of four years, and that more than 2,000 redundancies are to be sought at the Rome-based airline.