Alitalia Limps Through Another Year

Alitalia, Worst Airline Ever

Once again, it has been way too long since I checked in on Alitalia. I mean, there’s been plenty of action for my favorite airline to hate, but of course, nothing has actually happened. It’s all more of the same.

What prompted me to write this time? It’s Alitalia’s annual depressing shareholder meeting. Alitalia’s latest Chairman Aristide Police said that they were screwed, basically, unless everything magically goes well unlike anything that has ever happened before. In true Italian fashion, shareholders made loud and ridiculous claims that the airline needed an exorcism or that the senior managers should be stripped of their Italian citizenship. Um, yeah. That’ll help.

But really, things are just bad all around. The EU remains hot on Alitalia’s tail, and has launched an “in-depth investigation” of the loan from Italy. Yeah, this could get ugly if they decide it’s illegal (and it’s surely illegal).

06_09_10 alitaliaBut wait, there’s more. Why focus on Alitalia’s management when it’s almost always the Italian government pulling the strings and making things worse. Let’s just look over to Italy’s fearless leader, Silvio Berlusconi, for a little entertainment.

I think Alitalia will need to find accords with international partners and … Air France could be a good solution

Arrrrggggghhhh!! I hate you, no wait, I love you. No, I hate you. Ok, maybe I kind of like you. Really, will this fun ever stop? I hope not. It provides me with way too much entertainment.

That was a couple weeks ago, and now I think it’s safe to say that ship has sailed (though I guess you never know). Apparently, the airline has one last shot for salvation, and it ain’t the Pope. Intesa Sanpaolo is an Italian bank that has been appointed adviser to Alitalia. It is supposed to come up with a plan to save this wreck, and it should take at least another month before they even have the chance to sift through the airline’s messy books.
So for now, well, nothing has changed. *sigh*

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12 comments on “Alitalia Limps Through Another Year

  1. How did you settle on Alitalia as the world’s worst? Were there any close seconds – like maybe Olympic? Just curious.

  2. DC – It’s funny, this has come up before and people had asked who would take their place if they went away. Olympic is definitely a very strong candidate, but I think they ended up taking the award because of the events at the time I started writing about them. My first post on this was way back in September 2006. Since then, I’ve just kept a special place for these guys, so I periodically check in. You can read all the posts here.

    But yeah, at some point they’ll probably either go away or get saved and I’ll have to move on to someone else. Olympic is always a good option.

  3. You’ve omitted to mention the possibility that Air One (somewhat smaller Italian carrier, with a few long haul routes and Lufthansa code sharer) takes over Alitalia.
    Air One is, I believe, profitable and reasonably well run.

    Solves the national pride thing very easily but in times that are already troubled for airlines, Air One might be well advised to just focus on their seeing out the $140 per barrel storm rather than potentially over-stretching their balance sheet and management.

  4. David – It sounds like the reorganization is in the bank’s hands. That may include something with Air One (which has already taken over some US routes from Alitalia). If I were Air One, I’d run away screaming.

    Brian – I think they probably went through two more in the time it took you to write that comment. If you have the full list, I’d like to see it.

  5. You know that an airline has hit the bottom of the barrel when it fails to charge a credit card for a LIS-FLR roundtrip (change at FCO) that was booked in early January and taken in March. It is now the 1st of July and Mastercard still hasn’t received any claim from them. Woo-hoo! Free trip?
    The service, I hear you ask? Well, apart from 30-60 min. late departures it was actually quite acceptable. Nothing to write home about, but…

  6. I actually just flew with alitalia from Miami to Rome and was very dissapointed with the service on board even in business class. The funniest part of flying with them was that on my flight home i was in coach and i snuck up to business class and they didnt even notice. It was awsome but just goes to show how bad the employees and service are

  7. Air One is already flying to the US and is growing in Europe and doesn’t need to take over the mess AZ has gotten into. Except for maybe buying some aircraft if AZ goes away, they should stay away form everything else.

  8. I think Alitalia missed a trick by not selling to Air France-KLM the only airline merger in recent times to make a success of their merger.

  9. I heard El Al will soon be merging with Alitalia. It’s true…the new carrier will be called Vel’italia

  10. Alitalia are in even more trouble, now that the EU court has ruled that they can’t be given any aid for a period of 10 years since the granting of aid in 2001.

    Makes the EUR 300 million bail-out from the Italian Govt earlier this year even harder to justify

  11. David..why would Air One want to bail out Alitalia? Wasn’t Alitalia the one who tried to get the government not to support Air One’s effort to start an airline business in Italy.

    I took a flight on Alitalia back in May and it was a good flight–maybe because it was just a short flight (Naples-Rome). One thing I have to say is that it is now 26 Aug 08 and I’m still waiting for Alitalia to charge my credit when I purchased an electronic ticket through their website back in early March 08. Obviously, they have some serious issues if they can’t even charge a credit credit card. I even called them about it and they seemed amazed by that fact.

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