Alitalia is in the midst of restructuring, since Etihad pulled the plug and stopped subsidizing the Italian flag carrier. Before Etihad pumped money in, Air France lost their shirt on the carrier.
Two months ago it was reported that Delta had submitted a binding offer to invest in the Italian airline. Today Delta has a revenue sharing anti-trust immunized joint venture across the Atlantic with them. (Delta had opposed Etihad’s flying to the U.S., but favored Etihad’s flying to the U.S. through Alitalia, since Delta took a chunk of that revenue as part of an anti-trust immunized joint venture.)
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Now come reports that Delta and Alitalia executives will meet in Atlanta about a merger. The Italian government — which has been subsidizing the airline to keep it afloat — may favor a Delta deal because it would involve transatlantic cooperation but not domestic job cuts.
Now you know why Delta really wants the US government to prevent Air Italy from flying between the US and Italy: it would mean competition for them, especially if they took partial ownership in Air Italy’s primary competitor, Alitalia. The amazing thing is that American CEO Doug Parker keeps going along with moves clearly designed to benefit Delta at their expense.
The US airline market is mature, but Delta has had a clear strategy for growth: invest in other airlines around the world like Aeromexico, China Eastern, Virgin Atlantic, and more.