Italian Railways (simply referred to as FS), say they are still looking at an industrial plan to turn the bankrupt airline around almost two years since it fell into administration, which happened as Etihad bailed out of putting any more money into the airline back in May 2017.
Lufthansa have walked away seeing the airline as a basket case. easyJet recently walked away saying it could find no business case to support the airlines purchase – and it’s believed to have tried very hard to make it happen.
Delta Airlines is still interested, and wants to work with FS to make Alitalia a success. It’s in Delta’s wider global interest to do so as it needs Alitalia in Skyteam to keep the alliance relevant, especially after the recent loss of China Southern to the alliance.
AirFrance-KLM Group is also keen to see Alitalia stay in the alliance and keep flying, but despite a small shareholding of its own, has declined any idea of an investment. Delta is crucial to the whole salvage plan – if one can be reached, as its partial direct and indirect ownerships of airlines, from AF-KLM to what was Flybe (via Connect Air which is part owned by Virgin Atlantic, in turn part owned by AF-KLM and Delta), gives it an extensive European network.
However, the Italian unions don’t make for friendly bed fellows, having conducted yet another four-hour strike this week as part of a wider strike action in Italy generally.
The nationalist government isn’t helping matters either as it’s loathe to see its flag carrier fail, and wants to see a majority of it in Italian, rather than European hands. Under EU rules airlines outside of the EU cannot control more than 49% of an airlines shares.
FS is saying that its to embark on trying to find a new strategy to make the business seem attractive. Quite what it can do after two years is hard to imagine, and the longer it goes on the less and less attractive an already ugly financial outlook becomes.