People walk in the Alitalia departure hall at Fiumicino international airport in Rome, Italy, July 24, 2015. REUTERS/Max Rossi
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Alitalia could cut up to 2,000 jobs as controlling shareholder Etihad Airways pushes for sweeping changes to turn the loss-making airline around, according to sources close to the matter. The Italian carrier may also ground at least 20 planes to cut certain unprofitable routes on domestic and regional services where it is struggling to compete with low-cost rivals and high-speed trains, the sources told Reuters.Etihad, which owns 49 percent of the carrier, declined to comment.Etihad invested 560 million euros ($591 million) in Alitalia in 2014 as part of a wider 1.76 billion euro rescue deal, seeking to expand its global reach with access to Europe's fourth-largest travel market, and pledged to return the airline to profitability by 2017 .Two years after the deal was signed, Alitalia is losing half a million euros a day.Alitalia is also considering grounding at least 20 planes, mostly Airbus 320 aircraft, two of the sources said.Italian media suggested that German airline Lufthansa could buy into Alitalia, but both airlines denied those rumors.
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