Italy’s national airline Alitalia is on the brink of collapse, with calls for last-ditch effort to avert a crash landing. The company said it cannot guarantee flights beyond this weekend, because there is no money left to pay for fuel. Alitalia loses three million euros a day, and went into administration last month. It has been bailed out several times by the government which owns just under 50 percent of the shares.
“This is a dramatic moment, because we are close to failure,” said Labour Minister Maurizio Sacconi. “The possibilities for action are limited, and the company cannot pay its bills, so it could lose its licence to fly.”
Potential investors walked away from the latest talks blaming union intransigence over proposed redundancies, revised contracts and pay-cuts.
Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi wants to keep Alitalia in Italian hands, because allowing it to go bust would be political suicide. He promised voters he would use his business contacts to find a saviour.However, the unions rejected a plan which would have re-launched the company as a smaller, leaner airline but with a drastically-trimmed workforce. Now, Italy’s bankruptcy commissioner says the chances of saving Alitalia are plummeting.