Alitalia CEO confident good sense will prevail in talks with banks, unions

ROME, July 16 Wed Jul 16, 2014 9:05am EDT

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ROME, July 16 (Reuters) - Alitalia Chief Executive Officer Gabriele Del Torchio said on Wednesday he was confident to succeed in negotiations with banks and labour unions that will open the way for Etihad Airways to buy 49 percent of Italy's flagship carrier.

A final agreement with Etihad has been held up by talks over thousands of job cuts and debt restructuring at Alitalia requested as a condition for the deal.

"I'm confident and positive, even though I know there's still some way to go," to conclude the negotiations, Del Torchio told reporters in Rome after meeting with Etihad CEO James Hogan.

"In the end, I think good sense will prevail among everyone," he added. The target to complete the talks is the end of July, although Hogan said earlier on Wednesday that the deadline could be extended. (Reporting by Alberto Sisto, writing by Steve Scherer; editing by Agnieszka Flak)

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