After months of negotiations, the Alitalia (AZ, Rome Fiumicino) rescue deal has been thrown into doubt by infrastructure group Atlantia declaring on November 19 that it was not prepared to join the consortium. The move comes almost immediately before an already much-delayed November 21 deadline for the delivery of a binding offer for the loss-making carrier.

Atlantia said in a statement that the conditions did not yet exist for it to join the consortium, but it added that it remained available to take part in any negotiations to seek a strategic partner for the airline.

“Following on from the announcement of 15 October 2019, having noted the lack of any significant developments in relation to the issues raised at that time, the company announces that, as things stand, the conditions that need to be met in order for Atlantia to be able to take part in a consortium, set up to put together a binding offer for Alitalia, do not as yet exist,” the statement said.

“In any event, Atlantia continues to be willing to engage in the process of identifying an industrial partner and reaching agreement on a solid, long-term business plan for the turnaround of Alitalia.”

Alitalia has been run by administrators since May 2017 and talks headed by state-owned rail firm Ferrovie dello Stato have been ongoing for a year. Delta Air Lines (DL, Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson) and, more recently, Lufthansa (LH, Frankfurt Int'l) have been involved in the discussions. Analysts expect the Italian flag carrier to run out of money by the end of 2019.