Page last updated at 16:07 GMT, Friday, 12 December 2008

Alitalia taken over by consortium

Alitalia planes parked at Fiumicino Airport, Rome, on 12 September

Alitalia, Italy's troubled national flag-carrier, has been taken over by the Italian Air Company (CAI), a consortium of investors.

The long-running deal had been delayed by opposition from employees, but the two major unions representing flight attendants backed the deal on Friday.

The consortium also bought Alitalia's smaller rival Air One on Thursday and will now merge the two carriers.

The new owners may now link up with with Lufthansa or Air France-KLM.

Chairman of CAI Roberto Colaninno said a new partner would be proposed to the board by the end of the year.

Alitalia filed for bankruptcy in August, weighed down by high labour costs, strikes, surging oil prices and political interference.

It was unable to repay a 300m euro loan to the Italian government, which the European Commission said amounted to illegal state aid.

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