A last-ditch attempt to save Alitalia seems doomed after talks between unions and would-be buyers broke down.
A group of Italian investors was set to buy the profitable parts of the airline, but with the deadline for a deal with unions ending today, they have thrown in the towel.
Labour minister Maurizio Sacconi said the situation was hanging by a strand of hope but that the only other alternative was bankruptcy.
The talks are thought to have stalled over redundancies, contracts and pay cuts. Unions insist they have defended their demands.
A general workers union member said:
“We know it’s a particularly delicate situation, but we’re here to negotiate, and it won’t be our fault if the talks fail.”
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi had promised to use his business contacts to make sure the national flag-carrier didn’t end up in foreign hands.
But even his charms seem to have their limits.
Barring an eleventh hour miracle Alitalia will be in the hands of the bankruptcy commissioner.