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It will come as a blow to those legacy carriers that are fearful of Etihad’s European creep, but the EU Commission has cleared the way for the Abu Dhabi carrier to acquire a 49% stake in Alitalia. While the antitrust clearance was said to be permitted with fewer restrictions than some similar deals, the airlines do have to offer up slots between Italy and Belgrade, the hub of Etihad subsidiary Air Serbia. One report suggested that the deal was good for Alitalia in more ways than one – with the Italian government much less likely to interfere in the running of the carrier than before.

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