Atlantia Toll-Road Operator to Save Alitalia Airline
Italian airline firm controlled by Benetton family, Alitalia gained confirmation of support from toll-road operator Atlantia and state railways Ferrovie dello Stato (FS) on October 14.
Atlantia has been in discussions since July about taking part in a government planned rescue of the airline with the help of the state airline and Delta Airlines. As part of the deal, it is said that Atlantia would continue with binding offers if the leading carrier will invest in the flagship carrier.
The binding deal has witnessed postponement several times because of the disturbed relations between Alitalia and Delta due to the airline’s development on routes to the US. Sources said that there were serious conflicts about the money needed to inject into the carrier to change things for the better.
Major demand was raised for Delta to increase its investment more than the €100m that they had promised. Also, questions were raised about the problem of membership of Alitalia’s SkyTeam and its positioning within the Delta-Virgin Atlantic-Air France-KLM joint venture. If actualised, this deal would give the US airline an upper edge in the US route development of Alitalia.
Sources claim that Atlantia is going to invest nearly 300 million euros on commitments from other partners.
On the revenue front, September records show Alitalia experiencing consecutive growth since almost past two years, because of increase in the long-haul revenues and passengers.
The Italian airline witnessed an increase of 1.8 percent in revenues earned via intercontinental routes. As compared to September 2018, the airline saw 3.6 percent growth in the passengers carried in September 2019.
Also, in recent news, the promised strike by pilots and cabin crews of Alitalia led to cancellation of as many as half of the flights in the previous week. The strike was an act to retaliate to the Italian government’s laxity with reference to the end of Alitalia. According to The Local, it can also be seen as a way to pinpoint the “deteriorating conditions in the sector”. The strike is also seen as a complaint about the working conditions in transport sector and labourers’ contractual policies.
Despite all these hurdles, Alitalia claimed to be the second most punctual airline in Europe in the initial nine months of 2019, with 82.5 percent of its flights landing on schedule.
Meanwhile, one of the leading airlines of Malaysia, AirAsia has stopped running flights on some regional routes since September. The route from Penang to Hanoi will be phased out on September 16 and the services from Penang to Phuket will be stopped from October 25.
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