Will Anyone Buy Alitalia This Time?

No.

Sorry, I just couldn’t resist. It’s once again been a little while since we checked in with our favorite incompetent airline, Alitalia. I hadn’t planned on doing a post on Alitalia today, but I was reading a in Leif Pettersen’s excellent travel blog that started out like this:

F*cking Italy!!!
OK, OK… Let’s just calm down and try to discuss this like rational, levelheaded F*CKING ITALY!!!!!

Naturally, that made me think it was time for another post on that airline I love to hate.
So, what IS new with these guys?

Not much. The airline continues to bleed money while others are generating loads of cash. They just continue to be the laughing stock of the European industry. (And let’s remember, they have an airline in Europe called Wizz Air so Alitalia has to be bad to wrest the laughing stock title away.) The government is still trying to sell the airline. After the last privatization attempt failed, they went back to the drawing board. I’m pretty sure what they wrote on the board was, “Must privatize airline” and then decided to try it again. Now, they’ve asked for non-binding declaration of interest from potential suitors. It was supposed to be due on Nov 30, but surprise! We that it slipped until Dec 5. But don’t worry. Italy’s transport minister said it won’t slip into 2008. Uh huh.

So which masochists are involved this time around? Italy’s Air One is still in the running. They’ve been the only one to show consistent interest in trying to save this mess. But now, the other two showing interest according to “government officials” are Lufthansa and Air France.

Air France has been rumored for a long time but they’ve really never shown a formal interest. Italian workers would certainly feel at home with the strike-loving French, but they might be frightened away by an airline that actually makes money.

Lufthansa, on the other hand, hasn’t been mentioned very much. This would surely see Alitalia defect into the Star Alliance. Hmm, something about German (Lufthansa), Italian (Alitalia), and Japanese (ANA) interests uniting in an alliance makes me a bit uncomfortable . . . .

Anyway, they keep saying this will be done by Christmas. Who wants to take bets?

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