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Learning English - Words in the News
07 December, 2007 - Published 15:21 GMT
Air France KLM moves on Alitalia
Alitalia plane

Air France KLM says it wants to buy the loss making Italian airline, Alitalia. Analysts say its bid is likely to be favoured over a rival offer from Air One, an Italian owned budget carrier that has taken much of Alitalia's business on domestic routes. Mark Gregory reports.

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Italy's flag carrier has been humbled by the rise of discount airlines offering lower fares. What remains of Alitalia, after years of cuts, is losing around one and a half million dollars a day.

The Italian government, which owns almost a fifty percent stake, will be relieved that two credible buyers have stepped forward.

The Franco-Dutch group, Air France KLM, Europe's largest airline, is seen as the front runner. It hasn't said how much it's prepared to pay, but the Italian government is known to favour acquisition by a major international carrier as Alitalia's best hope for survival.

The other alternative is a bid by Air One, a smaller Italian owned operator on domestic routes.

Trade unions and some elements in Italy's left leaning coalition government favour the Air One option because it involves fewer job losses.

Meanwhile, the German airline giant Lufthansa has decided not to enter the race for Alitlalia. The government will make up its mind on which bid to back by Christmas.

Listen to the words

shown to be not as strong or powerful as it seemed

discount airlines
airlines offering flights at cheap prices

What remains of
what's left of

owns almost a fifty percent stake
owns nearly half of the company

the front runner
the one most likely to be successful


parts or people

enter the race for
compete against the others (here, by also putting in a bid to take over Alitalia)

which bid to back
which company's offer (to take charge of Alitalia) to support

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