September 23, 2020

The new public Alitalia will be operational in June and will suffer layoffs

The airline Alitalia, in bankruptcy since May 2017 and which will be nationalized by Italy in the coming weeks, will be entirely public, will be operational from June and will suffer layoffs on its staff.

This was stated this Thursday by the Minister of Economic Development, Stefano Patuanelli, in an appearance before the Transportation Commission of the Chamber of Deputies.

Patuanelli acknowledged that “talking about zero layoffs is difficult,” but did not give figures on how many of the 11,000 regular workers will be affected, and limited himself to saying that “maximum job protection will be guaranteed.”

He noted that the new nationalized society may be operational “in the first weeks of June” and will initially have more than 90 aircraft, compared to the current 113 fleet, although the drop in demand as a result of the coronavirus pandemic will prevent them from being used. all from the beginning.

The minister indicated that Alitalia will be totally public at first, although he left the door open for private investors to participate in the capital if they are interested later.

Finally, he justified the decision to nationalize the company, after three years without the bankruptcy administration being able to sell it to any private company, because he said that the negative impact of the coronavirus on air transport would have meant the end of Alitalia, already with little liquidity in its accounts.

“All the airlines in the world are experiencing great difficulties (…) On April 22 we registered a drop of 87.6% in the billing” of Alitalia, he explained.

The airline has been in bankruptcy administration since May 2017, initially managed by three administrators who tried to sell it in parts or in its entirety to companies such as Lufthansa or easyJet, who showed interest.

The arrival to the Italian Government of the 5 Star Movement and the League in 2018 paralyzed this potential sale and the administration tried to find a solution with Italian investors.

The concessionaire Atlantia, ACS’s partner in the Spanish Abertis, then participated in the negotiations to revive Alitalia together with the public company Ferrovie dello Stato, but pressured the Italian Government so that it did not withdraw the concessions to its subsidiary Autostrade per l’Italia, responsible for the management of the Genoa bridge that fell in August 2018.

Those conversations did not come to fruition. Atlantia pulled out of the Alitalia negotiating table in November and Rome is still studying what to do with Autostrade.

Last March the Italian Executive approved a decree with aid to companies and families affected by the coronavirus and introduced a plan to nationalize Alitalia of 500 million euros.

Italy has already granted two loans to the airline of 900 million and 400 million to guarantee its operation since May 2017.


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