Italian unions have welcomed progress on the future of Alitalia and called for attention to be focused on developing the carrier’s long-haul network, particularly flights to the US. 

Alitalia had been squeezed in its home market by fast-growing LCCs and declared bankruptcy in May 2017, kicking off a long-drawn out sale process that is still unresolved, with an Oct. 31 sale deadline looming. 

The Italian government wants to keep a 15% stake in conjunction with a strategic partner and by involving state bank Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, aims to have a binding offer on the table by that deadline, Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore reported Oct. 12, citing Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister and Economic Development Minister Luigi Di Maio.

The newspaper reported Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte also wants railway company Ferrovie dello Stato to be involved in the project, a possibility the operator’s CEO has previously said is worth exploring. 

The Federazione Nazionale di Trasporto Aereo (FNTA), a newly formed organization that brings together pilot and cabin crew unions, said Oct. 12:

“FNTA expresses its appreciation for the commitment made by the government and by minister Di Maio to building a structural solution to the Alitalia crisis that will allow it, in a break with the recent past, to aim for a positive future for the company and for all its workers through the direct participation of the state which will invest public resources in the carrier.”

The organization added: “Now there must be the utmost commitment to building a business plan, which will have to see Alitalia provided with resources of at least €2 billion ($2.3 billion) and developing with new long-haul aircraft on the lucrative market to and from the US.” 

It added: “The new Alitalia should also be organized into specific business units for different activities: flights, maintenance and ground handling—so as to make the most of the various opportunities the market offers and not only to eliminate job cuts but to increase employment.”

Helen Massy-Beresford,