Alitalia’s financial difficulties and the attempts to re-establish the company on a firm financial footing are ongoing. Ryanair has recently expressed interest in acquiring the whole or parts of the company
The Company fell into administration following the staff’s rejection of a cost saving plan and the subsequent withdrawal of funding by Etihad Airways, a minority Middle East shareholder and the principal source of finance.
This has echoes in the current situation with Air Berlin which in the past few days has gone into liquidation after Etihad declined further investment.
The Italian civil aviation authority ENAC (l’Ente Nazionale per l’Aviazione Civile ) placed the carrier on a temporary six-month licence following its entry into bankruptcy in May this year.
Given recent measures imposed by the airlines’ three appointed administrators, ENAC said in a statement on August 10 that it was restoring their permanent operating licences effective immediately.
With a €600m loan from the Italian government as support, Alitalia services appear to be returning to normal and even expanding. This week the codeshare agreement has been announced with Flybe for flights to and from Milan and Verona including those at Cardiff Airport.
Significantly, the Welsh connection with Italy is very strong with a current estimate of 40000 Welsh people of Italian descent. This figure has grown from an initial 1000 people in the early 19th century, mainly from the northern Italian town of Bardi.
The hope is that the addition of the Alitalia EZ code will increase traffic in both directions, including inbound from Italy to the benefit of Welsh tourism.