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Alitalia is handed lifeline by Italian civil aviation authority

Alitalia has won a reprieve from fear of imminent collapse and continues to operate as normal after the Italian civil aviation authority ENAC announced it would not revoke the carrier’s operating licence for the time being.

The authority had threatened to withdraw the licence any day without agreement on a new rescue plan after an Italian consortium withdrew its takeover offer last week.

A potential rescue appears back on after representatives of the biggest union at the airline, CGIL, agreed to a revised plan. However, the agreement of another five unions, including those representing pilots and cabin crew, is still required.

Alitalia has been in bankruptcy protection since the end of August and flying on a temporary licence.

Administrators are seeking a buyer for the 49.9% stake in Alitalia owned by the Italian government.

The Italian-based consortium put together at the behest of prime minister Silvio Berlusconi remains favourite to take over the carrier – either through purchasing part of its operation or seizing the assets following bankruptcy. Air France-KLM and Lufthansa also retain an interest.

Whatever happens, a much smaller carrier will emerge – probably merged with Italian domestic airline Air One.

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