Alitalia’s Death Postponed

Alitalia, Worst Airline Ever

I’d take a poll on how many people are surprised to hear that Alitalia looks like it has cheated death once again, but I know the answer. Nobody is surprised, and you shouldn’t be. This airline will live on forever, and that’s good news for me. It appears they will remain the worst airline ever for the foreseeable future.

The last of the unions has finally buckled, and now the Italian investor group will be able to do its magic.Alitalia Worst Airline Ever Alitalia will now be merged with Air One and only the “profitable” parts will survive, or so they say. I’d expect to see the long haul routes be hurt the most in these cuts, but hopefully other parts will be slashed as well. They need it. Total expected cost to the taxpayer? Expected to be a mere 2 billion euros. Sounds like a drop in the bucket compared to the US financial bailout, but we’re talking about one small airline here.

Now the last big question is . . . will they partner with Lufthansa or Air France/KLM? Both airlines are angling at a minority stake, but it sounds like the government likes Lufthansa best, so I’m sure that’s what will happen. This would be another remarkable addition for Lufthansa on their latest buying spree. For those keeping score, they now own Swiss, they bought half of SN Brussels (with the rest to be bought later), they have rights to buy bmi, and they’re in talks with SAS and Austrian. This ignores their regional carriers. That’s a huge chunk of European aviation that would be under Lufthansa’s control.

Now that it’s clear that Alitalia won’t be going anywhere, it makes more sense for these airlines to try to grab a piece of them. This is probably the only way to get a real foothold in the country since the Italian government won’t let anyone succeed if it’s at Alitalia’s expense. So, if they want in to Italy, this is the way to go.

Lufthansa already has an agreement with Air One, and they serve a great deal of Italian traffic through their Munich hub which is only an hour away from Milan by air. So they’d clearly like to keep their involvement there. On the other hand, Air France already has Alitalia as a Skyteam partner, and now that they have a chance of survival, they’ll want to keep them around as well.

Let’s see how involved the Italians get in this process. Undoubtedly, the government will step in and make things more difficult than they should be. Stay tuned for more fun-filled antics from the worst airline ever in the coming weeks.

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15 comments on “Alitalia’s Death Postponed

  1. “Undoubtedly, the government will step in and make things more difficult than they should be.”

    Little known fact: This is actually a line in the Italian constitution.

  2. Cranky,

    I was expecting something more interesting from your side. And again maybe for some your personal reason you are titling your “copy and paste” article in the wrong way.

    Said that, I wish you all the best for you and your blog and I would suggest you to keep it a bit more reliable.

  3. Brett,
    Thanks for your quick response to my problem. I did not you were constanly on the computer. Government always make things hard.

  4. God Bless you and your new bride. Have a wonderful wedding…pay attention to as much as you can, it will go by so fast. Have a fabulous honeymoon and take some time to enjoy one another!

  5. Merged with Air One? So does the Air One name stay or Alitalia? They’d have been better off letting Alitalia fail and just renaming Air One.

  6. Cranky, hopefully you ll honeymoon…at least I dont have to reply to your nonsensical comments!

  7. DRG, please stop it. You have no clue what`s going on. ALitalia brand has an unlimited value and it`s italian!

  8. Certainly an Italian airline brand *could* have significant value based on its Italianess (think Olivetti & Ducati, for example), the question is whether Alitalia has that right now. It would be interesting to see what Air One would do for a premium product without the ‘heritage’ of Alitalia.

    I personally don’t think any airline has, or ever had an unlimited brand value – Emirates, Singapore, BA in the 80’s, Pan Am in the 60’s – all fine airlines and all of who redefined what an airline is. These airlines have/had a brand premium based on what they did – where does Alitalia fit?

    (I’ve never flown Alitalia, although I was booked on a BOS-MXP segment once in the mid 90’s. The trip was canceled at the last minute, and I’m not sure it would have counted, as the segment was actually a wet lease from Ansett Australia due to Alitalia’s lack of 767/A330-class aircraft at the time.)

  9. You know, I flown Alitalia for 8 vacation trips to Italy (always through Milan) from Chicago since 1994. Except when Milan has been fogged in I have never had a late flight. Nor have I ever had a bad meal, bad wine or a nasty stewardess. I thank my friends, the Italian taxpayers for this–but what the heck, after all the money I have spent in Italy on VAT and hotel taxes, I guess it’s a fair trade.

    Viva Italia! I’m coming to see you in three weeks–again from Chicago, but this time through Rome. I’ll let Cranky know if there was a problem.

  10. Yes, everyone keeps saying the long-haul routes will be cut or suffer the most. But as someone booked from Sam Francisco to Rome on Alitalia on Dec. 20th returning Jan. ( I can find no one to guarantee that the flight will exist by then. What do you all think? Should I buy another ticket on another airline and forgo the crappy wait?

  11. Greg McCombs – Alitalia doesn’t actually fly from San Francisco, so you must be on a codeshare. Where are you connecting? You’re likely on Air France or Delta and then you’ll be fine.

    BTW, Alitalia has decided to kill its flight to LAX in a couple of weeks.

  12. Well, Cranky, I’m back from Italy and it grieves me to report that Alitalia is in really bad shape. On the trip from Chicago to Rome (11/5), the airline was obviously cutting corners by, for example, discontinuing inflight magazines, serving wine by the drink instead of a mini-bottle, etc. But worst of all, the food gave me a bad case of Mussolini’s revenge that had me shaking and feverish on the plane, and then took three days to get over. (The trip from Rome to Florence was uneventful, however.) The week of 11/10, some pilots went out on strike. On Thursday, 11/13, we stopped at the Alitalia office in downtown Florence to find out if there would be a flight out the next day. We were assured (“guaranteed”, the lady said) there would be no problem. Long story short–flights from Florence to Rome, and then from Rome to Chicago, were cancelled on 11/14. Fortunately the Alitalia people on the ground–who were completely dejected and obviously worried about their jobs–arranged for a flight on Lufthansa/Air Dolomite from Florence to Munich and on Lufthansa from Munich to Chicago. Air Dolomite was a pleasant surprise–clean, efficient, on time, great snacks, nice people. The Lufthansa flight to Chicago was the expected Teutonic clean and efficient, but it was an hour late in departing due to an electrical problem which kept the cabin lights on the whole flight. But we were certainly glad to get home after this ordeal. I doubt we will fly Alitalia again, even if it still exists a year from now. I guess all good things must come to an end, and Alitalia appears to be on its deathbed.

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