I have never written a more surprising post than this one. Alitalia, the queen of red ink, has actually, shockingly, found that by making more money than it was spending, it could post a profit. This past quarter, the airline made 15 million euros in operating profit (pdf). Holy crap.
Don’t get too excited, Alitalia lovers. (There have to be one or two of you, right?) This does not mean that Alitalia has relinquished its title as the worst airline ever. But, in a nod to their tremendous achievement, I have introduced a question mark to their badge. It’s no longer the firm statement that it used to be, but something tells me it will return to that point once again soon.
There are still plenty of problems. These results were for the third quarter – July, August, and September. That’s prime tourist season for Italy yet the airline only managed a 74% load factor. Granted, that’s a huge improvement over earlier quarters, but my guess is that it will drop once again now that the tourists are gone.
Even more shocking is the airline’s operational performance. They ran a 99.7% completion factor and on time percentage rose to 74%. They even passed 80% in October, the first month of Q4. Remember, this is an airline that usually likes to strike every couple of days.
Wow, just wow. I’m curled up in the fetal position right now questioning everything. If this keeps up, CEO Rocco Sabelli will get the leader of the century award. Fortunately, I don’t have much faith that it will continue.