Alitalia 'one of Italy's ambassadors in the world'

Alitalia 'one of Italy's ambassadors in the world'

Insolvent national carrier Alitalia is one of Italy's global envoys and merits more government funding to keep it aloft, Maurizio Landini, head of Italy's biggest trade union, Cgil, said on Thursday.

"Alitalia is not just a transporter of people and goods but one of Italy's ambassadors in the world," Landini stated.

"France and Germany are putting in far more resources to their airlines to save them," he added.

Italy's centre-left government on 8 May announced it would inject three billion euros into the loss-making carrier to help save it from collapse in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. The same day, the airline's main trade union announced an accord to suspend about 6,600 employees for seven months.

''When we have defeated the (corona)virus, tourists will need to be offered integrated public and private transport if they are to visit our country," Landini said.

Amid a sharp drop in passengers at the height of Italy's dramatic outbreak of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) in March, Alitalia's management asked government administrators to allow it to furlough 4,000 out 11,000 staff.

The same month, the government announced plans to renationalise Alitalia as part of a broader economic rescue package and earmarked 500 million euros in support for the whole aviation sector.

Alitalia filed for bankruptcy in 2017 and in January failed to secure rescues from either the Italian state railway or Germany's Lufthansa.