Press: Alitalia eyes Emirates, Asian firms

In its hunt for a merger partner, state-controlled airline Alitalia SpA is eyeing Emirates Airlines, Air India and Southeast Asian carriers like Cathay Pacific Airways, Thai Airways and Singapore Airlines Ltd., reports La Repubblica in its Monday Internet edition. However, the company would face hefty fines if it withdraws from the SkyTeam airline alliance, which is led by Air France-KLM (AKH), the paper adds.

Last week, Italian Prime Minister Prodi said Alitalia was “totally out of control,” while his deputy, Francesco Rutelli, said it needed a sharp strategic change and an Asian partner, though he declined to specify companies or countries.

Prodi is expected to meet late Tuesday with Alitalia’s head Giancarlo Cimoli, ahead of the airline’s board meeting on Thursday.