It is looking more and more likely that the Alitalia rescue plan is “good to go”. The pilots’ unions have apparently put their signature to it after promises of special treatment. The last-minute, revised, proposal from the CAI Investment Group is the last hope.
Only certain cabin staff unions have yet to agree to it, but all indications are they will on Monday. It all comes at a price.
A merger with Italy’s Air One will see the number of Alitalia planes in service drop by a third. 860 pilots will be out of a job as the number of routes are cut by a quarter. More than 3000 jobs in total will go. But, despite that, many staff now have confidence in the future.
“I am very happy,” said one pilot. “An international partnership might be close with Lufthansa or Air France. These are serious companies who know our profession and the importance of doing a good job.”
Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi ruled out a foreign takeover to preserve Alitalia’s national identity, but Air France-KLM is now likely to take a 10 to 25% stake.
Lufthansa is also waiting in the wings and is said to be preferred by the workers unions and possibly the government.
Berlusconi personally vowed to save Alitalia. It is rumoured his government is to take on the airline’s debt as part of the deal.