Europe/ CIS: Alitalia rescued from death throes

The last unions holding out against a deal to salvage beleaguered Italian national carrier, Alitalia agreed late last month to a plan which will see the bankrupt airline’s assets to a group of Italian investors. The breakthrough with the AVIA and SDL unions, which represent mostly fl ight attendants, came after a meeting with the […]


Air One Alitalia investors merge Roberto Colaninno


The last unions holding out against a deal to salvage beleaguered Italian national carrier, Alitalia agreed late last month to a plan which will see the bankrupt airline’s assets to a group of Italian investors.

The breakthrough with the AVIA and SDL unions, which represent mostly fl ight attendants, came after a meeting with the investors and government offi cials, the premier’s office said. All nine Alitalia unions are now on board.

Pilots, who had been resisting the deal, agreed to the plan last week after the investors made concessions, including on the number of layoffs.

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi had earlier said the airline was, “on the edge of an abyss” as he warned the carrier’s workers that there was “no alternative” to the plan and all 20,000 employees would lose their jobs if talks between labour and the investment consortium collapsed. The investors — led by Roberto Colaninno, chairman of the scooter maker Piaggio — have pledged to inject €1 billion (US$1.4 billion) into the lossmaking carrier, strip away unprofi table assets and merge it with Italy’s secondlargest carrier, the much smaller Air One.

The investors also are looking for an international carrier, possibly Air France-KLM or Lufthansa, to take a minority share.