Things Get Worse for Alitalia, If You Can Believe It

Alitalia, Worst Airline Ever

It’s been a month and a half since we last checked in on Alitalia, and I feel bad.06_09_10 alitalia I try not to neglect my favorite airline to hate, but it looks like that’s been the case. So what’s new? Nothing.

Ok, so a lot is new, but the theme is the same. The situation gets worse and worse every day and there’s no end in site. But let’s get caught up on the details.

The Italian government did finally decide to pick the Air France/KLM deal as their favorite, so the two airlines entered into talks. Then, the Italian government collapsed. Oh boy. There’s lots of speculation that the collapse of the government means that this deal is in trouble, but we really don’t know. The players all deny that this will hurt anything.

So how bad are things for the airline? Really bad.

It looks like they need 750 million euros by the middle of the year just to survive on their own, or at least that’s what they say. They continue to lose over 1 million euros per day, but at least they’re making some real changes this summer.

The word is out that they’ll reduce flights to Milan from about 660 per day (that sounds high, but it’s what the article says) to only 75. This is part of their recovery plan, and it’s consistent with what Air France/KLM would do – focus on the Rome hub.

How are they rewarded? The operator of Milan airport is suing them for 1.25 billion euros in damages for pulling out of the airport. Are you freakin’ kidding me?!? Sadly, no. They say they made a bunch of investments in the infrastructure of the airport for Alitalia, and now Alitalia owes them if they pull out.

If I’m running Alitalia at this point, I’m just planning on grabbing some grappa and drinking myself silly until I forget about how absolutely absurd this is. Even if they do something right, they get hit with backlash. Someone please shut this airline down.

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3 comments on “Things Get Worse for Alitalia, If You Can Believe It

  1. I have an idea. That other great Italian-French alliance – Bruni-Sarkozy – could go Dutch and bail out Alitalia.

  2. For the record, I think the MXP pull-out was (and still is) a bad idea in the first place for AZ. I get their idea of focusing on a single hub, but leaving Milan (Italy’s largest metro area and business hub) is just plain idiotic. Sounds to me like that decision was made for political, not business-savvy reasons (i.e. the decision to focus on Rome).

    And, SEA has a point. I’m not sure about a legal argument, but they DID build an entirely new airport in 1998 for the purpose of serving Alitalia’s hub. While it may not be anyone’s favorite airport, the only place worse I can think of is FCO.

    In the end, though, perhaps your right… while I don’t think the solution to AZ’s problems is to pull-out of MXP, perhaps it’s time they just close their doors altogether. But then, the Italians don’t have a reputation for going down without a bloody fight.

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