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Alitalia Seeks Commercial Partners

July 5, 2000

ROME (AP) _ Stung by the breakoff of talks with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Italy’s Alitalia is looking for commercial partnerships rather than a merger, the chief executive of Italy’s national airline said Wednesday.

Alitalia CEO Domenico Cempella told parliament’s transport commission that Alitalia is seeking a European or American partner, or both.

KLM broke off merger talks with Alitalia earlier this year and the Dutch carrier is now trying to complete an alliance with British Airways.

Rumored allies for Alitalia are Air France and SwissAir. Both have the long-range capability it needs to complement Alitalia’s operations, said Stefano Gamberini, a transport analyst for Euromobiliare SIM.

Gamberini also said Alitalia’s results are expected to suffer again this year from high international fuel costs and the failure of Milan’s Malpensa airport to become the intercontinental hub it was meant to be.

Cempella told parliament that he expects Alitalia to break even in 2000 because of onetime gains.

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