Employees of Alitalia called a strike causing at least a 100 flights to be cancelled in Italy. The Unions came out in support of the staff of Alitalia, Air Italy, Blue Panorama, Air Dolomiti and Neos. The employees fear they will lose their jobs, given the poor financial condition of the airline and amidst talk of establishing a new national carrier.
Alitalia has been incurring heavy losses and is on its way to bankruptcy. For some time now, the airline has survived on over €5 billion of public money. Talks between the Italian government and the European Union for the creation of a new national carrier have not given any concrete result yet. That is because, EU wants that the assets and workforce of Alitalia and the new, smaller airline, called ITA, be clearly separated.
Assistance from EU for the establishment of a new airline will come only on the condition that Alitalia gives up its name along with landing slots at Milan Linate Airport. Additionally, Alitalia will have to cut down its fleet size and also lay off hundreds of its staff members. Its luggage handling wing has to be sold off too and it would have to employ third-party maintenance agencies instead of relying on in-house staff.
The strike, however, has not affected flights related to the military or those used for humanitarian, rescue or emergency purposes.
The airline is offering full refunds to the affected passengers as well as the option to change the reservation.