Etihad Says it Has a Deal to Buy 49% Stake in Alitalia

Alitalia

Alitalia

Add Alitalia to the ever-expanding list of equity partners for Etihad Airways, the Abu Dhabi-based carrier that’s growing at breakneck speed.

Etihad said on Wednesday it has reached a deal to buy a 49% stake in Alitalia, the perpetually struggling Italian carrier that never seems to be more than one crisis away from potential failure.

In a statement, Etihad says it and Alitalia have agreed on “the principal terms and conditions.” The two sides say they still must hammer out the final details of the deal. The tie-up also must clear regulatory approvals. Financial terms were not disclosed.

“We are delighted to be able to move forward with this process and look forward to the successful conclusion of the proposed transaction with Alitalia,” Etihad CEO James Hogan says in the statement. “An equity investment in Alitalia will be beneficial not only for the both airlines, but, more importantly, it will give more choice and broader travel opportunities to business and leisure travellers into and out of Italy.”

If approved, the deal likely will usher in at least a temporary round of financial stability for Alitalia, which in turn will help Etihad by funneling connecting passengers through Etihad’s Abu Dhabi hub.

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