A senior Alitalia official has denied that the continuing uncertainty at Milan Malpensa is a "deal stopper" as far as finding a new alliance partner is concerned.

However, Giorgio Callegari, vice president of business development at the Italian carrier said the situation remained "a critical issue," noting that "Alitalia's growth strategy relies on a set framework for Malpensa."

The Italian carrier is awaiting a decision from Brussels, following the latter's declaration that the arrangement whereby traffic is divided between Malpensa and Linate, is illegal. This move followed an appeal by airlines unhappy with the arrangement, which was seen to favour Alitalia.

Callegari says the carrier was assured last March by the Italian Government that the decree which split traffic between the two airports was absolutely final.

Alitalia's forward planning has been thrown into disarray by the constant chopping and changing, he complains. "You have to plan capacity decisions in advance, based on market demand" he says. "With intercontinental hubs you need feed."

Source: Airline Business