The future of Italian flag carrier Alitalia is in doubt after the debt-ridden airline filed for bankruptcy. The announcement came as the airline, which is losing more than a million dollars per day, failed to reach an agreement with its employees that would have seen jobs and salaries cut to more sustainable levels.

Alitalia flights will continue to operate as scheduled, at least in the short term. The Italian government has stepped in, offering Alitalia a loan that would keep Alitalia in business for up to six months. After this time, the airline will be liquidated unless a buyer can be found. But with the airline losing so much money, there so far there do not appear to be any interested buyers. Many believe that the airline should simply be allowed to fail.

Well, Arrivederci Alitalia… Interesting how there appears to be some public opinion of note that says that the carrier should be left to fail.

Etihad Airways has been a key investor in Alitalia, having purchased a 49% stake in 2014. Etihad has since decided not to invest any further money into the airline.

How much influence have Etihad had in their operations/management over the past few years? They were ‘meant’ to come in and save the day from what I recall!

One member recently flew with Alitalia, and they noticed a number of improvements in the airline that were likely influenced by Etihad. These include new lounges, new uniforms and a new website. But this member also found that Alitalia’s website and IT systems did not work, and short-haul flights felt like a low-cost carrier experience at full-service prices.

At the end of our AZ experience, I decided ‘never again’. Looks like I may not get the chance to make that call.

Alitalia is a partner of Virgin Australia. Velocity Frequent Flyer members can earn and redeem points and status credits when flying with Alitalia. If Alitalia does go out of business, Velocity will be left with a gaping hole in its international partner airline network. Velocity’s only other partner to offer flights within Europe is Air Berlin – but Velocity status credits are not earned for Air Berlin flights (unless booked as a VA codeshare).

So what now, VA, in regards to partner airline? Wish VA would join an Alliance or pick up a couple of more useful partners.

Alitalia once flew to Australia, operating flights from Italy to both Sydney and Melbourne. The airline withdrew from the Australian market in October 2000.

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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]