Alitalia Debts Soar As Flights Hit For Seventh Day: Administrator

Troubled Italian airline Alitalia's debts have soared to some 2.3 billion euros, the company's special administrator said Sunday as a pilot and air crew strike caused a seventh day of cancelled flights, Agence France-Presse reported today. Augusto Fantozzi told RAI television he had "around two billion in ordinary debt for the supply of goods and services," before taking into account a 300-million-euro government loan. Alitalia's last publicly recorded debts going back to mid-2008 were 1.2 billion euros, although that figure did not include bills from suppliers. State aid from Rome was initially judged by the European Commission to be illegal, but the commission last Wednesday gave approval for a group of private investors to take over assets of Alitalia while ruling that they would not have to repay the 300-million-euro loan. The Italian Air Company (CAI), a group of Italian business people, made a binding takeover offer last month for the air passenger transport activities of Alitalia, which was put in special administration in August. A new, relaunched airline was due to rise from Alitalia's ashes on December 1. The current Alitalia has burnt through three million euros a day, leaving it crippled by spiralling debts. Read more.