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03 Feb 2015 12:30

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has acquired a 75 per cent stake in Alitalia Loyalty S.p.A, the owner and operator of MilleMiglia, Alitalia’s frequent flyer program, with Alitalia retaining the remaining 25 per cent stake. 

Alitalia Loyalty will become part of Global Loyalty Company (GLC), a loyalty and lifestyle company that allows Etihad Airways and its partners to target the global loyalty market more effectively, whilst driving technology and back office synergies. GLC also consists of Etihad Airways’ Etihad Guest, airberlin’s topbonus and Jet Airways’ JetPrivilege programs. Together, Etihad Guest, topbonus, JetPrivilege and MilleMiglia have a combined total of 14 million members worldwide. 

The addition of MilleMiglia will lead to enhanced opportunities for members to collect and redeem their miles around the world. In addition, it will give GLC true global scale and a critical mass of valuable, high-spending consumers. 

To celebrate this milestone, guests registering to join MilleMiglia before 28 February 2015 will receive a double welcome bonus (2,000 + 2,000 miles). 

James Hogan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Aviation Group, said: “Etihad Airways’ majority stake in Alitalia Loyalty is a fundamental part of our investment in Alitalia and will position Global Loyalty Company as a leading player in Italy’s loyalty market. 

“The loyalty program sector is a faster growing and higher margin business than the airline industry. This approach allows both Etihad Airways and Alitalia to reap greater rewards together, with opportunities to generate sustained profits from our loyalty programs. 

“Importantly, this investment also ensures MilleMiglia’s members will benefit from exciting long-term plans to develop Global Loyalty Company into a broader, multi-partner loyalty program across the core markets of Italy, Germany, India and the United Arab Emirates.” 

Silvano Cassano, Chief Executive Officer of Alitalia, said: "This development will greatly enhance synergies between the two programs and ensure members are provided with even more opportunities to earn miles and redeem them for flights, upgrades and other benefits, while opportunities for MilleMiglia members to collect and redeem their miles through any SkyTeam member airline will be kept unchanged. 

“The investment is part of the recapitalisation and restructuring of Alitalia, which provides the airline with a sound financial platform for its future growth, and also reinforces our commitment to providing our passengers with the best possible service.” 

MilleMiglia is Italy’s largest frequent flyer program, with 4.6 million existing members and more than 20,000 new members a month. The acquisition of a 75 per cent stake has been valued at €112.5 million and is being financed through a cash investment by Etihad Airways.

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