A consortium of companies planning to rescue Alitalia (AZ, Rome Fiumicino), led by Italy's state railway Ferrovie dello Stato and including Delta Air Lines, the Italian infrastructure group Atlantia, and the country's Ministry of Economy and Finance, is likely to ask for a delay in the deadline to present its plan.

According to the newspaper Corriere della Sera, sources close to the matter said that another month had already been requested, shifting the deadline ahead to mid-October. The current deadline for the presentation of a binding final offer expires on September 15.

Key aspects of the rescue are still being negotiated, which could lead to a "substantial" delay, one source told Reuters. It would be the sixth delay since the Italian railway operator expressed an interest in investing in Alitalia at the end of 2018.

At the crux of the issue are the flag carrier's highly-profitable North American routes, which the Italian partners want to see expanded. But the role of Alitalia in a proposed joint venture with Delta, Air France-KLM, and Virgin Atlantic, dubbed the Blue Skies alliance, would be more restrictive as it would have to share revenues from North American routes with Delta and these other partners. Long-haul routes to the United States and Canada account for more than a third of Alitalia's total revenues.

A further complication is that the plan must be submitted to Italy's new government, which is still in the process of being formed with the ministers of economy and transport once again set to change.

Meanwhile, Alitalia ceased operations to Olbia in Sardinia, from both Milan Malpensa and Rome Fiumicino, on September 8, Italy's ANSA news agency reported. It failed to resolve a dispute with Air Italy over a tender for the public service obligation routes and warned in June that it would end the services and concentrate instead on the other two Sardinian airports in the tender, Cagliari and Alghero.