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Alitalia Load Factor Rises, Just Below Break Even

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Occupancy rates on Italian airline Alitalia have climbed from 43 percent when it was relaunched in January to around 65-66 percent at present, just below break even point, its chairman said on Thursday.

Roberto Colaninno, in an interview with newspaper La Repubblica, denied the former state airline had need of any further recapitalization or would hand a larger stake to Air France-KLM.

In January, Air France-KLM took a 25 percent stake in Alitalia, which had filed for bankruptcy in August, helping to relaunch it as a smaller regional carrier with fewer staff under the control of an Italian group of investors, CAI.

"We started off in January with only 43 out of 100 seats occupied. Now we are at a quota of 65-66 percent, just under the level of 67-68 percent which is break even point," Colaninno told the newspaper.

"The accounts are in line with the budget."

Colaninno said Alitalia's main objective was to control the domestic Italian market. Its market share there has risen from 54 percent in January to around 61-62 percent at present, he said. Italy is Europe's fourth biggest travel market.

On Wednesday, Air France-KLM chief executive Jean-Cyril Spinetta told a news conference that Alitalia's finances were stronger than expected.

(Reuters)