Talks resume after Alitalia flight cancellation chaos

The new owners of
Alitalia
and worker unions are now back at the table following the cancellation of nearly 100 flights on Monday and 43 yesterday at Rome’s Fiumicino airport. The parties are endeavouring to thrash out a deal over the exact number of jobs that will be secured when the smaller, more efficient Alitalia is relaunched next month.

Thousands of passengers were left stranded following the walk out by baggage handlers and maintenance staff over their futures under the new regime. Filt-Cgil national secretary Mauro Rossi said: “there are a series of things which have no explanation save for gross incompetence or bad faith in the application of the understandings undersigned in Palazzo Chigi”.

The cancellations have caused fury among the many stranded.

“Alitalia stinks, I’m sorry,” Vince Mariotto, an American passenger flying to Chicago, told Reuters Television. “I never (will take another Alitalia) flight ... not even if they give me a free ticket.”

Another, Mirea Mitrofan, said the airline did little to comfort stranded passengers.

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“No water, no food. They put some of us last night in hotels, some people slept on the floor in the airport,” Mitrofan said.

Italy’s bankrupt national flag-carrier was finally bought by the investment consortium CAI this month. The long-running takeover saga was delayed by opposition from employees, but the two major unions representing flight attendants backed the deal on 12 December.

Alitalia filed for bankruptcy in August, weighed down by high labour costs, strikes, surging oil prices and political interference.

It was unable to repay a €300m (£270m) loan to the Italian government, which the European Commission said amounted to illegal state aid.
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