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Italian Flag Carrier Alitalia’s Fleet Could Be Halved as Part of Nationalisation Plan

Italian Flag Carrier Alitalia’s Fleet Could Be Halved as Part of Nationalisation Plan

The Italian flag carrier Alitalia could end up being a much smaller airline when the country emerges on the other side of the Covid-19 crisis according to trade unions who represent several groups of workers at the airline. Last week, the Italian government announced plans to renationalise the loss-making airline with a cash injection of nearly €600 million to stave off Alitalia’s demise.

According to sources familiar with the matter, the new government-owned entity that will take over Alitalia is likely to start off with just 25-30 planes. At present, Alitalia has a fleet of around 100 aircraft, including 38 Airbus A320’s and 11 Boeing 777’s which support more than 11,000 jobs.

“The government said that 25-30 aircraft would only be the starting point, but we are concerned the fleet will not be expanded once the emergency is over,” once source was quoted by Reuters.

A joint press release from two trade unions urged the government to develop Alitalia and to increase its size once the Coronavirus pandemic is over. The unions said they would meet with lawmakers on March 30 and were committed to protecting as many jobs as possible.

The latest figures show that despite a national lockdown, Alitalia is continuing to operate over 100 flights a day. That is, however, little more than a quarter of the airline’s usual activity.

Along with maintaining connectivity with a small number of European carriers, Alitalia has also been drafted in by the government to rescue stranded citizens who have been unable to get home on commercial flights because of travel bans, entry restrictions and an increasing number of airlines cutting nearly all their flights.

Just a month before Italy was gripped by the Covid-19 outbreak, the government had been planning to sell off the loss-making carrier. Alitalia has been under special state control since 2017 but officials have struggled to find a buyer for the airline.

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