A new dawn has broken for Italy’s national carrier Alitalia.
The airline has agreed to sell a 25 per cent stake to Air France KLM for 323 million euros. It will give the Franco-Dutch company wider access to Europe’s fourth biggest travel market after years waiting in the wings. The deal came after a week of frenetic talks Roberto Colaninno, the President of the new CAI- led consortium, made the announcement. “It’s an industrial operation that is non-speculative, that is born from the intention of relaunching a highly important national infrastructure to the benefit of the country as well as the shareholders,” he said. At Rome airport, some Alitalia employees held a mock funeral for the carrier. Hundreds of staff still face losing their jobs. “We have almost 1,000 employees of 30-40 years in a precarious situation, we are awaiting confirmation (of saving the jobs) but I think it will never happen,” said one worker. The Air France KLM deal will not prevent Alitalia from managing its affairs autonomously. A “lock-up” arrangement will prevent Italian investors from selling their stake for four years.