Alitalia firms pact to take over Wind Jet

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Italian flag-carrier Alitalia has firmed an agreement to take over budget operator Wind Jet's passenger transport business, but has been unable to reach a similar deal with Blue Panorama.

Sicilian-based Wind Jet was established in 2003 and last year carried 2.8 million passengers.

Alitalia says the acquisition agreement will "further diversify" its activities, adding that the takeover is "consistent" with consolidation of the European airline market.

It says, however, that finalisation is still subject to regulatory approval.

New Alitalia chief Andrea Ragnetti says he is "extremely satisfied" with the deal, while his counterpart at Wind Jet, Antonino Pulvirenti, states that the tie-up "recognises the skills and achievements in building the first Italian low-cost company".

Alitalia stated in January that it was pursuing the acquisition of Wind Jet and fellow Italian operator Blue Panorama, but says it had not sealed a preliminary integration agreement with Blue Panorama by the deadline of 31 March.