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'Arrivederci': Final flight for Italy's troubled airline Alitalia

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In this photo taken on Sunday, May 5, 2019, an Alitalia plane takes off from Sofia airport, Bulgaria.
In this photo taken on Sunday, May 5, 2019, an Alitalia plane takes off from Sofia airport, Bulgaria.   -   Copyright  Darko Vojinovic / AP
By Josephine Joly  with AFP

Italy is waving goodbye to its flagship airline Alitalia as it takes off for the last time today after 74 years in business.

The final flight, from Rome to Cagliari, will signal the end of the company's financially troubled history.

Over the last 20 years, Alitalia has cost the Italian state some €13 billion. The coronavirus pandemic proved to be a fatal blow to the company.

Italia Trasporto Aereo (ITA) has taken over the company but will employ just 2,800 of its staff.

Thousands of other Alitalia employees face unemployment.

On Monday, workers demonstrated in Rome to call for support from the government.

ITA will be fully owned by the Italian government and will start off with a fleet of 52 planes, with the number of aircraft rising to 105 by the end of 2025.