The financial problems troubling the Italian national airline, Alitalia, have spilled onto the ground, affecting thousands of passengers in Milan. Staff took action at Milan’s Malpensa airport over the airline’s plans to scale back operations at the hub, and more than a hundred flights have been cancelled. But the UIL pilots union denied it was a wildcat stoppage. Union co-ordinator Flavio Sordi said: “It is absolutely incorrect to call it a strike. Pilots are applying safety rules regarding technical maintenance.”
Alitalia has announced plans to cut unprofitable routes and jobs from Milan’s Malpensa as part of its survival plan, but it has not made clear exactly how many. Italian media reports suggest up to a thousand jobs might have to go. The airline lost more than 600-million euros last year, and directors have been fighting a losing battle to find a buyer for the government’s 49.9 per cent stake.