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Alitalia dies after 75 turbulent years, hands over to ITA

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MILAN, Oct 14 (Reuters) – Alitalia, a one-time image of Italian fashion and glamour introduced low by financial mismanagement, will function its final flight on Thursday after 75 years, earlier than handing over to its downsized successor Italia Trasporto Aereo (ITA).

The conventional selection of popes, prima donnas and Italy’s political elite, Alitalia has been run by state-appointed directors since 2017 to keep away from being liquidated.

An evening flight from Sardinia’s capital Cagliari due to land in Rome at round 2100 GMT will mark the ultimate bow for the airline based in 1946, after a dizzying succession of restructurings and adjustments of possession.

The firm has ended just one yr within the black this century and the federal government has run to its rescue many occasions, spending greater than 8 billion euros ($9.27 billion) simply within the final three years.

As has usually been the case throughout its lifetime, Alitalia’s final rites had been surrounded by political dispute, with the far-right opposition social gathering Brothers of Italy blaming Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s authorities for its demise.

“Today we are losing another jewel, a company that has forged the history of our nation and … made us proud to be Italian,” stated the social gathering chief Giorgia Meloni.

After searching for to promote Alitalia to non-public buyers, in 2020 Rome surrendered to the disastrous penalties of the pandemic for the airline sector and determined to create ITA from its ashes.

The new service, wherein the federal government will make investments 1.35 billion euros over three years, will begin with 52 jets and a couple of,800 staff, in contrast with round 110 plane and a workforce of 10,000 for Alitalia.

Under a deal negotiated with the European Commission, there have to be clear discontinuity between Alitalia and its successor, and the brand new service wants to be worthwhile by the tip of its 2021-2025 marketing strategy.

However, Alitalia’s legacy of excessive prices, mismanagement and heavy political and commerce union affect could also be onerous for ITA to shrug off.

The new service is in talks to purchase Alitalia’s model and is anticipated to keep the standard green-white-red livery.

The launch of a nimbler service leaves a query mark over the way forward for greater than 7,000 Alitalia staff who can be put underneath a brief lay-off scheme paid for by the federal government till no less than Sept. 2022.

($1 = 0.8630 euros)

Reporting by Francesca Landini; Editing by Gavin Jones and Jan Harvey

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