Time to let Alitalia die with dignity

Now anyone with any heart has a soft spot for Alitalia, but surely the time has finally, finally come to let this venerable old girl of European airline history bow out of the game with dignity?

Try telling that to Italy’s new hierarchy.

If the miracle workers now in charge in Italy get their way this wilting carrier will be save. But just what are they smoking?

The latest story from the Financial Times has the government ready to lend Alitalia another Euro 100-150 million ($160-240 million). The European Commission and everyone else in this continent will look most dimly on this prospect – the last cash injection from the state of a cool Euro 1.2 billion was supposed to be the last.

Then there is the suggestion that a recent meeting between new Italian prime minister-elect Silvio Berlusconi and the Russian president Vladimir Putin had Alitalia on the agenda. The thinking is that Aeroflot could come back into the Alitalia frame – far-feached isn’t it.

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In a blog post in September I described the task of fixing Alitalia as a gladitorial challenge. Well it’s gone way past that – it’s now impossible.

Alitalia had their chance to bring Europe’s merger maestro – Air France boss Jean-Cyril Spinetta – to weave his magic. But they’ve blown that one by all accounts.

Sabena and Swissair were the flag carrier casualties in the last downtown, surely the government has got to let Alitalia go the same way this time.

It’s a crying shame because Alitalia has some terrific top managers and plenty of rank and file workersthat just want to get on and do a good job..

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