Alitalia cleared for take-off

A leaner and meaner Alitalia could be relaunched by early November after Italy’s two last unions yesterday begrudgingly lent their support to a rescue deal that will see the injection of Euro2bn.

Unions SDL and AVIA, representing cabin crew and ground staff, finally followed the lead of other unions who last week made a u-turn and agreed to back a deal with Italian consortium CAI.

The way is now paved for a take-over by CAI, a group of 16 wealthy Italian entrepreneurs and businesses led by Piaggio boss Roberto Colaninno.“We’ve signed the deal, but there’s nothing to celebrate,” Antonio Divietri, the head of the AVIA union, told Reuters, adding its workers had been left out “like a dog on a balcony.”

“One in three of us will be laid off. There are people who are losing their jobs and suffering.”

Alitalia, which sought bankruptcy protection in August, must now have its assets valued and merged with those of domestic rival Air One before it can be relaunched.


The airline had looked doomed last week after CAI pulled out of a deal over union discord. Its desperation sunk even lower when it took out a series of advertisements in newspapers seeking potential buyers for all or any parts of its assets.

The Italian government will now offer a stake of up to 25% to one of two international carriers - Air France-KLM and Lufthansa. Several unions as well as Silvio Berlusconi are openly backing a take over by the German carrier, having opposed Air France-KLM’s take-over attempt earlier this year.