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Italy minister says expects Air France to up role in Alitalia

An Alitalia jet takes off over another three parked at Fiumicino airport in Rome December 23, 2008. REUTERS/Chris Helgren
An Alitalia jet takes off over another three parked at Fiumicino airport in Rome December 23, 2008. REUTERS/Chris Helgren

MILAN (Reuters) - Air France-KLM will strengthen its role in Italian airline Alitalia SpA , Italian transport minister Maurizio Lupi said on Monday.

"I expect that Air France will strongly reaffirm that Alitalia is a strategic asset for Air France, and therefore that there will be a strengthening of Air France's role," Lupi said at the margins of an industry conference in Milan.

Air France-KLM owns 25 percent of the loss-making Alitalia following the Italian firm's rescue from bankruptcy in 2008, and media reports have predicted the Franco-Dutch group will decide what to do with its stake in the coming week.

(Reporting by Giulio Piovaccari, writing by Naomi O'Leary)

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