A new, privatised Alitalia has taken to the skies today despite threats of disruption by protests on the ground.
The former state-owned airline company, once the symbol of Italy’s post-war economic boom, was nearly grounded for good after it declared bankruptcy in August. It now belongs to a group of Italian investors and Air-France-KLM. Europe’s biggest airline has agreed to pay more than 300 million euros for 25 percent ownership of Alitalia. In a reminder of the old challenges facing the carrier, scattered protests by a few unions at Milan’s Malpensa airport threatened to disrupt flights. They accuse Alitalia’s new owners of not respecting prior agreements. With its operations merged with those of smaller rival Air One, Alitalia aims to increase its market share to more than 50 percent from less than a third and post break-even results in two years.