Bankrupt airline Alitalia is about to disappear


Bankrupt Italian national airline Alitalia has asked passengers to bring only one piece of hand luggage when traveling, given intensifying strikes and union protests disrupting services ahead of the planned demise from the airline on October 14.

In a series of tweets, Alitalia apologized to its customers and blamed the disruption to union meetings which “over the next few days could lead to delays in the services provided by Alitalia”. A single carry-on bag would guarantee faster baggage deliveries to the destination, Alitalia said.

Alitalia, which has been in the red for more than a decade, is expected to officially exit the air transport market next month and be replaced by a new national carrier ITA, or Italy Air Transport. The European Commission has given the green light for an injection of 1.35 billion euros (NZ $ 2.25 billion) of government funding into the new airline, but the ITA only plans to hire around a quarter of Alitalia’s estimated 10,000 employees.

These employees have been demonstrating for weeks. A national strike is scheduled for Friday to demand better treatment and respect for previous contracts. Workers staged another protest in Rome on Tuesday after unions and the ITA board again failed to reach a deal on Monday.

Alitalia has been in the red for over a decade.

123RF

Alitalia has been in the red for over a decade.

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“It is not acceptable that around 7,500 employees, excluded from the hiring plan, lose their jobs and do not benefit from any income assistance,” said Stefania Fabbri, representative of the Fit-Cisl union in the region of Lazio. “We want solid prospects, in terms of salaries and employee relocation.

Italy’s Economy Ministry announced in July that ITA would replace Alitalia and be launched on October 15. Alitalia has announced its intention to continue flying until October 14.

Alitalia workers staged a protest in Rome.

Roberto Monaldo / AP

Alitalia workers staged a protest in Rome.

ITA had planned to start operating around 2,750-2,950 employees in its aviation industry, bringing the number to 5,550-5700 by the end of 2025.

The agreement to create the ITA also provided for reducing the number of airport slots, especially at Rome’s main Leonardo da Vinci airport. Milan Linate Airport, popular with business travelers as it is close to Italy’s finance and fashion capital, will also see some reduced slots.

Among its routes, ITA plans to operate flights to New York from Milan and Rome, and to Tokyo, Boston and Miami from Rome. Destinations from Rome and Milan Linate Airport will also include Paris, London, Amsterdam, Brussels, Frankfurt and Geneva.

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