Alitalia Could Be Grounded Over Unpaid Bills
Italian airline Alitalia is running the risk of being refused fuel for its planes as the company battles to secure its future.
Alitalia, which employs 14,000 staff, has been told by Italian provider ENI that its taps will be turned off unless unpaid fuel bills are settled.
The airline, which has a mountain of debt, is trying to raise £85m from shareholders as part of efforts to shore up its finances.
ENI's chief executive Paolo Scaroni said the firm "cannot provide credit to a company whose future seems no longer assured.
"If Alitalia doesn't get the support of its shareholders, we cannot keep it alive with our gas," he warned.
The investor vote is scheduled for Monday October 14 while Italian authorities work to find a solution with the prospect of receivership looming large.
Talks, which have included the country's prime minister, have yielded nothing so far and a decision may be taken by aviation authorities in the coming days on whether Alitalia is a viable company.
Alitalia has not made a profit in years and in September posted net losses of £249m for the first half of the year.
At the same time its plea for a capital increase was met with opposition from its biggest shareholder.
Air France-KLM took a 25% stake in Alitalia in 2008 as part of a compromise after-then Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi blocked a proposed takeover.
Italy's current prime minister Enrico Letta has since said that decision was an error "that we are paying for today."
Air France-KLM has problems of its own - this week announcing a huge restructuring involving about 1,800 lost jobs.