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Let’s very temporarily suspend the car advice mantra and quickly dish out some plane advice.

Ex-Ferrari chairman Luca Cordero di Montezemolo will soon be announced as chairman of Italian airline Alitalia, according to Reuters. 

The Italian national carrier will apparently announce the appointment if a 1.8 billion euro rescue deal with Etihad Airways, agreed upon in August and under which the Abu Dhabi airline will own a 49 per cent stake, gets sign off from European competition authorities on November 17.

It is understood the deal’s success with regulators is now almost a formality.

Etihad Airways CEO James Hogan will be his deputy, according the the reports. Montezemolo, 67, has long been seen as a candidate to be chairman at Alitalia, as he is one of Italy’s most connected and famous business leaders. 

According to the report, the appointment of Hogan as his deputy will likely fall under the scrutiny of European authorities, which require that no airline from outside Europe controls a European carrier.

Montezemolo served as Ferrari chair for 23 years but resigned in September this year. He received, as we have reported, a 27 million euro golden handshake on his way out. 

Since di Montezemolo’s departure, Fiat boss and new Ferrari chief Sergio Marchionne has announced a plan to spin off 10 per cent of Ferrari’s shares as an independently traded company, and has mooted upping Ferrari’s strictly limited production schedule from 7000 units annually to around 10,000.