Thursday, 5 December 2019

Alitalia signs codeshare deal with Brazil's Azul just days after another bailout from Italian government

The Italian flag carrier Alitalia has signed a codeshare agreement with Azul Brazilian Airlines, the largest airline in Brazil by the number of cities served, the airlines confirmed on Wednesday 4th December. 

As part of this agreement, customers can conveniently connect to Azul’s unrivalled domestic network when flying Alitalia into and out of São Paulo (Guarulhos) and Rio de Janeiro (Galeão). 

Under the agreement, the codeshared network will include 19 domestic Brazilian destinations served by Azul in connection with Alitalia services to/from São Paulo (Guarulhos) and Rio de Janeiro (Galeão):  Belém, Porto Seguro, Brasilia, Cuiabá, Belo Horizonte, Curitiba, Florianópolis, Fortaleza, Goiânia, Foz do Iguaçu, Ilhéus, Navegantes, Porto Alegre, Ribeirão Preto, Recife, Rio de Janeiro Santos Dumont, Salvador, Vitória and Campinas-Viracopos.

"Alitalia is always seeking new partnerships that provide our passengers with the best travel experience when flying to an increasingly larger number of destinations. This new cooperation agreement significantly enlarges our presence in Brazil, a key market which presents great growth opportunities for the airline, because of the significant presence of the Italian community, and where we operate 42 weekly inbound and outbound flights, thanks to the double-daily service to São Paulo and the daily service to Rio de Janeiro," said Fabio Maria Lazzerini, Chief Business Officer at Alitalia.

On Monday, the Italian government has approved a rescue or bridging loan for the struggling national carrier Alitalia to the tune of €400 million.   The cash is designed to see the airline through until the middle of May, while yet another rigorous plan to save the carrier from collapsing completely.

This is not the first time the government has had to dig deep to save its flag carrier, as recently as 2017 it stumped up €900 million.  It had been hoped that various buyers - either singularly or as a consortium, would come forward to invest in the cash haemorrhaging airline, yet despite lots of talks, much speculation, the odd briefing and supposed backroom deals,  nothing has been signed and sealed.

So will this latest bridging loan make a difference in the long run for the airline?  The jury is out on that one at the moment, but very few voices in the aviation industry are sounding positive for the long term future of the airline. Some are just saying its good money after bad and pointless at this stage.  Others have indicated that the European Commission which is already started looking ton to 2017 loan as the illegal state aid will do the same to this lastest avalanche of cash. 

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