I’m not talking about being bad from a passenger perspective . . . there are probably far worse in the third world somewhere. But from a business perspective, Alitalia has to take the cake.
What prompted this outcry? Well, late last week, Alitalia canceled nearly 200 flights due to a strike by four of its unions. This is probably the 10,000th strike this year for these guys. What makes that even more remarkable is that lacking government support, this airline should have shut down many times over by now.
In the US, airline employees made some pretty hefty sacrifices for their companies. Strikes only became a threat after the second or third pay cut, and even then they never happened (though Northwest is still on the brink). Yet in Italy, the employees of Alitalia have this crazy sense of entitlement that just makes you shake your head.
So where does this come from? Well, it comes from the top. The Italian PM, Silvio Berlusconi was quoted earlier this year as saying that national pride should play a role in deciding the future of Alitalia. Forget about the fact that this airline is insolvent. If the PM thinks that it should exist, it will continue to exist despite market forces. So, with that crazy mandate to continue, the unions will keep striking, and the airline will continue to be in the running for the worst airline ever.