Alitalia is expected to reveal its new international partner within the coming days, as the new airline gears up for a 13 January start.

Air France-KLM and Lufthansa are both looking to acquire approximately up to 25% of the reborn carrier, which is expected to achieve full operational status on 13 January following its integration with fellow Italian carrier Air One.

An Alitalia source says: "Negotiations for the international partner continue and the aim is to conclude them and select the partner in the coming days."

The revamped Alitalia has been backed by investor grouping Compagnia Aerea Italiana (CAI), but this company changed its name to Alitalia on 30 December.

Acknowledging that this is causing some confusion, the Alitalia source confirms that the previous Alitalia still exists but is under the tutelage of administrator Augusto Fantozzi, who is currently seeking buyers for 46 of its aircraft.

Hopes had been raised that a new partner for Alitalia would be announced by the end of last year, but the source says: "It was a little bit over-ambitious as they [CAI] were closing the Air One transaction."

Alitalia and Air One's combined personnel will drop from around 19,000 to 12,700. The joint fleet will consist of 148 aircraft serving 70 destinations, of which 23 will be domestic.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news