I first flew Alitalia almost 50 years ago!* I remember it as a chic airline flying people to the glamour and history of Italy.
The jumbo era was not good for the airline and it ended up the 1970s a tatter of its former self. The airline feels very frayed around the edges. I have continued to follow Alitalia as it seems to gasp for its breath one last time, multiple times. I have seen their service plunge, briefly improve and then plunge again -multiple times.
Alitalia is one of the last stand alone national carriers in Europe. Air France and KLM merged. British Airways has internationalized taking on Iberia and. Lufthansa has broadened taking on Swiss, SB Brussels (whats left of Sabena, another chic ariline of the past). Alitalia has remained firmly Italian.
NowAlitalia are for sale and the commissioners currently running the airline are aiming for a “full sale” of the Italian airline. One of the three commissioners Luigi Gubitosi told the newspaper La Repubblica newspaper that “saving Alitalia is possible.”
Tough call. Little has been done to tackle the company’s cost base. Compundint this has been little reofkr if tehir employment roacuce and cndiitiosn meaning it costs Alitalia a fortine to fly each plane compared d with other carriers. (compare cents per km with ryan and botihs). Alitalia does not seem toi have avisionn for the future. Finally, the Etihad investment doe snot seem to have paid iff for either etyihad or alitalia.
The tender process opened ;ast on Monday (July 31)st and will end on October withb the aim of a full sale. Italy’s government has ruled out nationalising Alitalia although it has provided the short-term funding which has enablethemhm to keep flying. This despite 77 percent of Italians thinking the airline should be allowed to fail.
It is claimed that ten buyers are interested. Who are they?
- Ryanair have publicly said they are in the running. It is hard to now wherhere tehy are srious or engaging in anotehr ounlciity stunt. I see it as unliukely that Mr O leary woudl leave much of Alitalia and I cannot see him running a full-service airline as a subsidar of the dsocunt no frills meagolith. They would be inly inetersted in routes. Ryainair are alreayd teh largets operator in Italy largest with 3.7 million seats o domestic and international routes compared with Alitalia’s 2.6 million seats.
- Easyjet, the thrid largest operator in Italy with 2.6 million seats would be a remote[chance. Rome and northern Italy are potential markets where EasyJet could take advantage of any reduction in Alitalia services.
- Greybull Capital owners of Monarch are also reportedly keen. They would split the company apart merging Alitalia’s engineering business with its existing operations, get partners to take on Alitalia’s short haul flights. It is not interested in the airline’s ground handling.
- Reports in Italy have suggested that Etihad, the 49 per cent part owner of Alitalia, would be poised to buy the entire company. I find that not fully plausible. I think that they want out. Etihad said in a statement issued when the aurkairlinet into liquidation in May that it was “not prepared to continue to invest.” I think this inetsment whgile giving etihad easier access to the European dn us markets would cost etihad a . A non EU owned ailrine would have didifuclty under eu rule s in easily accessing that common market
- British Airways have already said no.
Norwegian Air Shuttle (have ruled themselves out . There is no way any Alitalia would fit with their business plan. I cannot see wow or whizz being interested in anything bjut a few planes and routes.
Icelandair, TAP Portugal, Czech are all too small.
Aeroflot could be an outside possibility
Malaysia Airlines are interested in leasing planes from Alitalia -I imagine at a good price
- Lufthansa’s CFO already said no back in april. . If LH die take them over, this arrangement would see Alitalia’s Italian and intra European routes reconfigured and a further downsizing of its international services
Two things are guaranteed fo rte new owner. They will lose a lot of cash until the airline is restructured. and they will afce a uge amount of pain through that anguish. And with no support n the home market, what future is there?
*writing this makes me feel very old but I was a child back then