Alitalia May Try to Sell Itself to Air France/KLM

Alitalia, Worst Airline Ever

It’s time for an Alitalia update, and I can’t say I’m happy about this one. Not only is Alitalia making money, but it may try to sell itself to Air France/KLM (even though success seems unlikely). This airline just haven’t given me much to Alitalia Worst Airline Everwork with in the way of screwing people over lately, and that’s no fun at all.

By the way, just to set the record straight, Alitalia is still the reigning Worst Airline Ever. You might recall the recent post where Mexicana became the new holder of that title, but Mexicana is gone. And as we all know, if the winner is unable to fulfill its duties as Worst Airline Ever, the runner-up steps into its place. So, Alitalia, welcome back.

But Alitalia isn’t acting like the airline that we used to know and hate. In fact, in the third quarter, Alitalia made €39 million. I realize that in this climate, every airline should be able to make money, but if you want to be the worst airline ever, certainly you should still post a loss. And the load factor climbed to a somewhat-respectable 76 percent. Ah, come on. That’s just not right.

At least the first 9 months of the year still showed up €125 million in the red, so there is hope that this is just a temporary blip. But what if Alitalia doesn’t stay around long enough for us to know for sure? Apparently, CEO Rocco Sabelli is revealing in an upcoming book that he’s going to try to sell the airline to Air France/KLM, an airline conglomerate which already owns 25 percent of Alitalia.

Now, this has been a possibility for ages. With Alitalia a member of SkyTeam and firmly entrenched in the Air France/KLM sphere of influence, a takeover seems quite logical. We’ve seen Lufthansa do it with airlines like Swiss and Brussels. It takes over airlines but runs them separately. I wouldn’t be surprised to see that happen with Alitalia.

But Rocco does say in this book (what kind of weird book is this?) that he thinks shareholders won’t go for this anyway. Whew. Without Alitalia around, I wouldn’t know who to pick on. Other bad airlines (like Mexicana) actually go away, but Alitalia, like a diamond, is forever. Then again, if Alitalia keeps up its recent performance, I may have to go fishing for another candidate here. Aerolineas Argentinas, you busy these days? It might be time to pay a visit.

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12 comments on “Alitalia May Try to Sell Itself to Air France/KLM

  1. Brett you need to make a worst airline list. AZ can’t be all that bad since it’s still around, but yet it took MX 80+ years before it vanished.

    Didn’t I read somewhere that DL is so desperate for a South American tie in that it is getting buddy buddy with AR to join Skyteam? AZ and AR both in Skyteam, and no wonder why Skyteam is the worst of the big three alliances.

  2. Cranky, what are the top 2 or 3 issues that make AZ and AR candidates for your Worst Airline? Haven’t flown on either one for quite a while. On an AZ press trip (yes) in the late ’60s, I remember observing a cockroach climbing up a DC-8 bulkhead in first class. But in the ’80s I had a great meal in Y-class on a 747 JFK-MXP. Only one significant AR experience, a fabulous ride in F-class on a 747 EZE-JFK in 1999. (The last two weren’t press trips.) So what are the problems today?

    1. These aren’t really from an onboard product or customer service perspective (though Alitalia has had its share). It’s more about how poorly they run the company. Financial performance, operational performance, and customer service policies (or lack thereof) are certainly part of it.

    1. Even if Mexicana comes back, it’ll never be the same. Mind you, that’s probably a good thing – everyone I know who has ever flown it thought that it was worse than Alitalia. I think that Air France/KLM buying Alitalia wouldn’t be too bad of an idea. They already codeshare a ton because of Skyteam, and adding Alitalia to the mix would make them more competitive against Lufthansa and all its subsidiaries, and British Airways/Iberia

  3. Dear Cranky,
    Hope to give you good news. CAI performance (that’s the new name for the airline as Alitalia went bankrupt in August 2008! and is dead now) is hard to assess given that the Italian investors who run it do not have to show the records because their are not a public company. Apparently the international press instead of attempting to properly report the situation they just copy CAI owners press release, which of course are always positive (nobody can check anyway). It’s a shame that you can’t speak italian because both and felicesaulino published all along experts- reliable reports on the real performance results of the company. Hope I made your day. The former Italian flag carrier will soon disappear and become a local regional company serving domestic flights for the French.

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