Lufthansa sees Italy coming under pressure over Alitalia

The chief executive of Lufthansa said the German carrier is not interested in Alitalia in its present form and that it needs restructuring. (Reuters)
Updated 06 March 2018
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Lufthansa sees Italy coming under pressure over Alitalia

BRUSSELS: Lufthansa expects the European Commission will put pressure on Italy to find a solution for ailing flag carrier Alitalia, the German group’s chief executive said on Tuesday.
“I am certain Brussels will increase pressure and force a solution and then we will take a look to see if it offers any chances for us,” Carsten Spohr told journalists on the sidelines of an Airlines for Europe event in Brussels.
Spohr said he expected there would be more merger activity among airlines in Europe. “Europe needs more consolidation and will see more consolidation,” he said.
Europe’s airline industry was shaken last year by the insolvencies of Air Berlin and Monarch, as well as Alitalia entering an administration process.
Spohr, however, repeated that Lufthansa was not interested in Alitalia in its present form and that it needed restructuring.
British Airways parent IAG is also not interested in Alitalia, the group’s CEO Willie Walsh said at the event.
“I think our focus on Italy is organic growth principally through Vueling,” he said, referring to the group’s Spanish budget carrier.
Britain’s easyJet acquired some Air Berlin operations and CEO Johan Lundgren said it was busy working on integrating that at present.
“As with Air Berlin, we will take opportunities when they are right to take,” he added.


‘Don’t be too optimistic’: Huawei employees fret at US ban

Updated 26 May 2019
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‘Don’t be too optimistic’: Huawei employees fret at US ban

  • This week Google, whose Android operating system powers most of the world’s smartphones, said it would cut ties with Huawei
  • Another critical partner, ARM Holdings, said it was complying with the US restrictions

BEIJING: While Huawei’s founder brushes aside a US ban against his company, the telecom giant’s employees have been less sanguine, confessing fears for their future in online chat rooms.
Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei declared this week the company has a hoard of microchips and the ability to make its own in order to withstand a potentially crippling US ban on using American components and software in its products.
“If you really want to know what’s going on with us, you can visit our Xinsheng Community,” Ren told Chinese media, alluding to Huawei’s internal forum partially open to viewers outside the company.
But a peek into Xinsheng shows his words have not reassured everyone within the Shenzhen-based company.
“During difficult times, what should we do as individuals?” posted an employee under the handle Xiao Feng on Thursday.
“At home reduce your debts and maintain enough cash,” Xiao Feng wrote.
“Make a plan for your financial assets and don’t be overly optimistic about your remuneration and income.”
This week Google, whose Android operating system powers most of the world’s smartphones, said it would cut ties with Huawei as a result of the ban.
Another critical partner, ARM Holdings — a British designer of semiconductors owned by Japanese group Softbank — said it was complying with the US restrictions.
“On its own Huawei can’t resolve this problem, we need to seek support from government policy,” one unnamed employee wrote last week, in a post that received dozens of likes and replies.
The employee outlined a plan for China to block off its smartphone market from all American components much in the same way Beijing fostered its Internet tech giants behind a “Great Firewall” that keeps out Google, Facebook, Twitter and dozens of other foreign companies.
“Our domestic market is big enough, we can use this opportunity to build up domestic suppliers and our ecosystem,” the employee wrote.
For his part, Ren advocated the opposite response in his interview with Chinese media.
“We should not promote populism; populism is detrimental to the country,” he said, noting that his family uses Apple products.
Other employees strategized ways to circumvent the US ban.
One advocated turning to Alibaba’s e-commerce platform Taobao to buy the needed components. Another dangled the prospect of setting up dozens of new companies to make purchases from US suppliers.
Many denounced the US and proposed China ban McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and all-American movies and TV shows.
“First time posting under my real name: we must do our jobs well, advance and retreat with our company,” said an employee named Xu Jin.
The tech ban caps months of US effort to isolate Huawei, whose equipment Washington fears could be used as a Trojan horse by Chinese intelligence services.
Still, last week Trump indicated he was willing to include a fix for Huawei in a trade deal that the two economic giants have struggled to seal and US officials issued a 90-day reprieve on the ban.
In Xinsheng, an employee with the handle Youxin lamented: “I want to advance and retreat alongside the company, but then my boss told me to pack up and go,” followed by two sad-face emoticons.