As a result, a new company, Alitalia SAI, will become operational from 1 January 2015.
The remaining 51% stake in the Italian national carrier will be held by former company, Alitalia CAI, through MidCo, which has contributed the agreed assets and liabilities for the continuation of the airline.
Etihad has already announced a turnaround plan for Alitalia, through which it plans to return the airline to profit by 2017. Recent codeshare partnerships have been signed between Alitalia and several of Etihad’s other partners, and the airline recently launched new services from Italy to Abu Dhabi, to link with Etihad’s global network.
For Etihad, the Alitalia acquisition marks the latest stage of its equity alliance strategy, through which it invests in other, often struggling airlines, and brings them into line with its own operations.
Alitalia becomes Etihad’s eighth equity partner, following Aer Lingus (in which it holds a 4.1% stake), Air Serbia (49%), Air Seychelles (40%), airberlin (29.2%), Jet Airways (24%), Virgin Australia (22.9%) and Darwin Airline (34%), which has since been rebranded as Etihad Regional.