Italy is continuing its race against the clock to secure an agreement with unions on relaunch plans for Alitalia, after unions held more talks with government officials yesterday.

Four of Italy's large unions yesterday announced a preliminary framework agreement the industrial plan for Alitalia - though five smaller unions including those representing a large chunk of pilots and flights attendants were not included in talks and have not signed up to the plan. This has prompted strong protests from pilots and flight attendants.

Further talks subsequently took place yesterday with the four unions - Cgil, Cisl, Uil and Ugl - covering contract terms. Italian Government officials also met the five other unions representing Alitalia staff - with officials from pilots body Anpac and flight attendant grouping Anpav quoted as saying there was some progress during the meeting.

A wider meeting between unions, government officials and potential Alitalia investor, Compagnia Aerea Italiana, is reportedly planned for 18 September in an effort to reach a final agreement.

The talks are set against the backdrop of Alitalia's deteriorating financial plight. The SkyTeam carrier filed for extraordinary administration at the end of last month and administrator Augusto Fantozzi has already warned on cancelling existing collective labour deals and starting job cuts.

Fantozzi has also warned the carrier is facing increasing difficulties securing the necessary services, notably fuel, to enable it to continue its operations, which he says could put some flights at risk - without specifying possible timelines.

After failing to secure union support by its original deadline, CAI on 12 September broke off due diligence work and reiterated it will withdraw its offer for the carrier if there is no union agreement.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news