The Italian government is likely to select a buyer for new national airline Italia Trasporto Aereo in the “next few weeks,” according to the carrier’s chief executive officer, Fabio Lazzerini.
ITA, the successor to failed Alitalia SpA, expects a transaction to be completed by the end of the year, Lazzerini said in an interview on the sidelines of the International Air Transport Association’s annual gathering in Doha.
Italy has been evaluating proposals from two bidding groups, one comprising container giant MSC Mediterranean Shipping Co and German airline Deutsche Lufthansa AG, the other led by US-based Certares Management LLC, a travel and tourism-focused investment firm, and involving Air France-KLM.
ITA expects to have about 3,000 employees by September, ahead of the planned entry into service the following month of Airbus SE A220 jets it will operate from Rome and Milan to airports including London City.
The narrow-body planes are part of an influx of Airbus planes due through 2025 as ITA moves to a more fuel efficient fleet, contrasting with the aging jets operated by Alitalia, which averaged 17 years old.
Lazzerini said the company has largely been spared the crew shortages and cancellations that have dogged more established rivals as it focuses on ramping up operations.
Italy announced in February that it had begun the process of selling ITA. A successful disposal would represent a coup for Prime Minister Mario Draghi in the wake of a series of failed divestments by previous administrations.