Is the End of the Alitalia Saga Near?

It’s been a busy week for Alitalia, and once the dust settles, we might finally have a solution regarding who is going to take a stab at fixing this sorry excuse for an airline. As promised, Intesa Sanpaolo has cobbled together a rescue plan. While this one seems more likely to work than any of the previous attempts, I’m still skeptical.

Alitalia Worst Airline EverThis plan gets a big group of Italian investors (up to 17, it appears) to put money into the airline, take over large domestic player Air One in the process, and slim down to a profitable operation.

It all sounds promising, right? I mean, you’ve got Italian turnaround expert Roberto Colannino leading the charge, so PM Berlusconi won’t start whining about how it’s not an Italian-enough group of people. Is it the best plan for Alitalia? Probably not. That died with the Air France/KLM debacle last year, but this certainly isn’t a terrible option.

And it does appear that the new Alitalia wants to work with one of the big three European groups. Air France/KLM was always the expected winner of that race, but there’s been talk of Lufthansa and now even hints of British Airways in the mix as well. Air France/KLM, it’s rumored, is talking about purchasing a minority stake in the new airline.

So all seems rosy, right? Not so fast. As usual, this deal depends upon the unions being willing to go along. They’re “hoping” to keep layoffs below 5,000, but my guess is that the unions won’t be too happy about that at all. Oh boy, more union fighting. Let’s see if they can somehow push this one through.

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