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Italian airline Alitalia has entered a strategic partnership with Abu Dhabi-based carrier Etihad Airways, agreeing to give the airline a stake of up to 49 per cent in Alitalia
Etihad Airways has revealed it was ready to invest up to US$1.7bn in Alitalia over the next four years. With reports of Alitalia's financial reserves dwindling, board members decided to vote in favour of Etihad's offer, stated Gabriele Del Torchio, Alitalia chief executive.
Of the US$1.7bn, US$759mn would be used to purchase new shares in Alitalia and the remaining would be invested in planes, design, and training, stated Italian transport minister Maurizio Lupi.
The Italian carrier received a rescue package worth US$678mn in 2013 from the government, but it currently risks running low on funds, according to a Reuters report. Etihad Airways already has stakes in carriers such as Air Berlin and Aer Lingus.
Meanwhile, the airline has also partnered with Alitalia to support Italy's tourism initiative 'Made of Italians', which seeks to invite travellers the world over to Italy throughout 2015. The initiative is also linked to Expo Milano 2015, which takes place in Milan in the second half of 2015, stated Etihad authorities.