October 9, 2018 / 2:34 PM / 7 months ago

Delaying decision over Alitalia would only make things worse-commissioner

An Alitalia airplane takes off from the Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport in Rome, Italy, June 21, 2018. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini

ROME (Reuters) - A six-month delay in the government’s decision over the future of Alitalia would only worsen the carrier’s situation, one of the state-appointed commissioners managing the ailing airline said on Tuesday.

“I am not aware that there is an intention to procrastinate, but postponing a decision that must be taken one way or the other would only make problems worse,” said Luigi Gubitosi.

On Saturday a government source said that Italy was working on extending by as much as six months a Dec. 15 deadline for Alitalia to repay a 900 million euro ($1 billion) loan meant to keep the airline afloat while it searches for a buyer.

Alitalia was put under special administration last year and Rome has since been looking for a buyer.

The sale was supposed to be concluded by April, but the deadline was moved to the end of October due to a general election in March and a change of government.

Reporting by Massimiliano Di Giorgio, writing by Giulia Segreti, editing by Valentina Za

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