The last flight of Alitalia

Alitalia turns off her engines after 74 random flight years to leave the track free to a young startup, Ita, born of its ashes, in an air market that struggles

The last flight of Alitalia

Alitalia turns off her engines after 74 random flight years to leave the track free to a young startup, Ita, born of its ashes, in an air market that struggles to recover from the turbulence of the Coronavirus pandemic.

The first flight of Italy Transport Aereo should take off on Friday at 6:20 pm (0420 GMT) of Milan-Linate destined to Bari, in the south of the country, seven hours after the last landing of Alitalia the day before in Rome, from Cagliari.

With the Cagliari-Rome flight tonight, the history of Alitalia concludes, a symbol around the world, after 74 years and several rescues that failed to have it afloat and be born a new airline with a fleet of 52 aircraft and that Only will hire about 3,000 of the 11,000 employees of the company.

The flight of Airbus A320 that will take off at 22.05 local hours (20.05 GMT) from Cagliari (Sardinia) with arrival at 23.10 (21.10 GMT) to Rome Fiumicino, with 177 passengers and driven by Commander Andrea Gioia, will be the last of the Italian flag airline, the potato company in 169 international travel.

Thus ends a history of successes, but also of continuous failures in their management, with losses of 1,800 million euros for the state's coffers, which now returns to be responsible, under the attentive eye of the European Union, from another airline of Flag, Italy Air transport (ITA), which can guarantee the first essential flights for connections in the country.

Born on May 5, 1947, Alitalia symbolized the economic success of Italy after the Second World War, becoming the seventh airline of the world in the 70s, before entering a long decline, which has aggravated in recent years .

Its history is intertwined with that of the country: the first hostesses arrived on board in 1950, Alitalia became the official carrier of the Olympic Games in Rome in 1960 and exceeded the Million Mark of Passengers, Paul VI was the first Pope who flew In it in 1964 and Antonella Celletti the first woman who piloted one of her aircraft in 1989.

"We attend deep sadness at the end of Alitalia, which was our national flagship, a symbol of the history of this country," says Laura Facchini, 47, a flight attendant of Alitalia for 20 years.

As so many others, he requested in vain being hired by the Ita as part of the first batch of 2,800 people contracted this year. By 2022, 5,750 employees must be hired, out of a total of 10,500 that has alitalia.

"Many of us are desperate because we do not have a job anymore, we were very close to this company, very motivated, we always had a smile on my face," said this national delegate of the UGL Transporto Aero union.

Alitalia unions have carried out a series of manifestations, protesting against the "discount contracts" offered by ATI, with salary cuts of up to 20% and even 40% for pilots, and "sale by parts" of the company.

While the aviation sector has been transferred to ESA, a totally state company, land services and maintenance will be sold separately, through tenders, as required by Brussels during the harsh negotiations with Rome.

The European Commission gave green light to the start-up in September and authorized the injection of 1,350 million euros in public funds. Observing "an economic discontinuity" between Alitalia and Ita, it exempt the latter to return the "illegal state aid" received by its predecessor.

Over the years, the Italian State has disbursed more than 13,000 million euros to try to raise the company, between recapitalizations and bridge credits. But nothing has been done and Alitalia has accumulated losses of 11,400 million euros between 2000 and 2020.

"The big mistake was not investing in the lucrative long-distance market," said AFP Andrea Giuricin, economist specialized by transporting Bicocca University in Milan.

Especially because low-cost companies, such as Ryanair and Easyjet, are reducing prices on short distance routes and high-speed train has reduced the travel time between Rome and Milan from six to three hours.

On the verge of bankruptcy, Alitalia was placed under public administration in 2017, but its situation has deteriorated even lower the impact of the COVID-19 crisis that has left on land the world airlines.

In 2020, Alitalia lost 2 million euros per day, transporting only 6.3 million passengers, while Ryanair transported 52.1 million and Air France-Klm 34 million.

With a fleet reduced by half, with 52 aircraft, including seven of wide fuselage, Ita will have difficulty taking off, says Andrea Giuricin.

"Resist the competition of the Gigantes Air France-KLM and Lufthansa on international routes and low-cost companies in the national market is an impossible mission.

Since Alitalia happened to be under public control four years ago, the government has searched for buyers in vain.

In the past, however, Alitalia had attracted suitors, such as Air France-KLM, which presented an offer in March 2008, but was rejected by Silvio Berlusconi, which came to power shortly after, campaigning on the subject of defense of "Italianity".

Rescued a posteriori by the Italian employer, Alitalia had to be rescued in 2014 by the company Emiratí Etihad, which acquired 49% of its capital, without curbing its crazy race towards bankruptcy.

Updated Date: 16 October 2021, 04:13

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