The new Alitalia aims to take off between June and July, it will have to be lean (in terms of number of planes and personnel), but above all it will have to support itself, without state aid as it has been for some time now. . Public help that will not fail when it comes to managing the chapter of those who will not be hired by the newco. This is the road map drawn up for the relaunch of the tricolor airline through Italia Transport Aereo according to the Minister of Economic Development Giancarlo Giorgetti who on Wednesday 17 March spoke at a hearing in the Transport Committee of the Chamber. The system revealed by the Corriere a few weeks ago remains confirmed, which provides for the direct sale to ITA of the aviation branch of the current Alitalia, while handling and maintenance provide services – at market prices – to the newco waiting for their sales process to be completed. .
The government believes in Italy Air Transport – the public newco created last autumn – and “puts 3 billion euros to have an airline that guarantees Italy’s accessibility to the cargo business and its vocation for tourism”, he clarified Giorgetti. “This choice is dictated by the government’s certainty of doing the right thing and believes in the project.” But, the minister stressed, “we must not repeat the mistakes of the past”. For this ITA must have an industrial plan based on “discontinuity, economic sustainability and market orientation”. “All this means that to fly the newco cannot be too heavy because if it is it does not fly”, continued the minister, thus touching the delicate chapter of those who will not be hired by the new transport company.
The company perimeter
“This will also have repercussions of a social nature that we are also evaluating with the Minister of Labor,” said Giorgetti. “We need tools for those who cannot be welcomed aboard the newco”. The numbers are not yet definitive, but at the moment we are thinking about a take-off with 45-47 aircraft and 4,500-4,800 employees. In the very first time – ie by June – 2,800-2,900 people should be hired, mostly pilots and flight attendants who will have to work in the fleet. Later, another 1,700-2,000 workers could be hired. In this way, approximately 6,000 people currently in Alitalia in extraordinary administration would remain outside the company perimeter, whose fate should be managed through two paths of social safety nets.
The industrial plan
“The industrial plan approved by the ITA board has undergone and is undergoing a process of profound revision, in the light of the negotiations underway, in particular with Commissioner Vestager”, explained Giorgetti, the day after the videoconference with the European Commissioner at the Competition and the other two Italian ministers involved in the dossier (Daniele Franco dell’Economia and Enrico Giovannini, owner of sustainable infrastructure and mobility). «The plan incorporates a gradual growth of operational structures, staff, routes, fleet – said the minister -. Taxation on two centers such as Rome Fiumicino, in the role of hub, and Milan Linate, the gradual renewal of the fleet, strong digitalisation and a strategic alliance to accelerate growth and strengthen competitiveness on international markets ».
On Linate, as anticipated by the Corriere a few days ago, one of the most complicated battles with the EU is being played out: Brussels asks that Alitalia sell a package of slots in the Milan airport where it holds two thirds of the take-off and landing rights. «The goal of the departure of the newco ITA is by June-July – said Giorgetti -. For this we must accelerate. The time factor is decisive. I also stressed this aspect to Commissioner Vestager: it is our interest that ITA leaves as soon as possible. We are already late, it was supposed to be operational in April ». The minister’s concern is dictated by the fact that the later the newco takes off, the more customers will book flights with other carriers. In particular, the low cost ones – Ryanair, easyJet, Wizz Air, Volotea – are flooding the Italian market, including the domestic one, with new routes.
Tenders for assets
“In the meantime – the minister recalled at the hearing – the extraordinary administration still has a call for proposals built in a different way than the current situation”. That announcement will have to be canceled and rewritten. Also because on sale there will be the handling, maintenance and Loyalty branches (the division that contains the MilleMiglia loyalty program). ITA will also participate in each of these calls: in recent times, from what has been learned, the managing director Fabio Lazzerini has contacted several potential partners. «On handling and maintenance, I believe we will go towards open races – explained Giorgetti -. We can imagine some simplified formulas, also for this reason the three of the Alitalia extraordinary administration have been extended, but it is not at all simple ».
Speaking of extraordinary administration, according to Giorgetti, it is important to «ensure that there are no tensions for payments required by law (such as layoffs). I am quite sure that the dialogue with the EU will allow us to do this without resorting to bridging loans which are not the way forward ». Meanwhile, the dossier on compensation for damages suffered by Covid-19 is released: «Commissioner Vestager has assured me that refreshments will be given for an amount equal to about 55 million. This is the application presented on 15/03 by the extraordinary administration to the integrated Mise for the damages suffered in December 2020 ». In short, March salaries should no longer be in the balance.
The trade unions
The reaction of the trade unions was cold. “It cannot be the workers who pay the big bill left behind by the strategic political choices of the past,” says the national secretary of FILT CGIL Fabrizio Cuscito. “Giorgetti’s statements arouse great concern: since 2008 there have been more than 10 thousand redundant workers who have left the company and the current ones who remain are expecting answers that are in the direction of guaranteeing full employment and development”. “When Minister Giorgetti at the hearing in the House says that Alitalia must be lighter in order to fly, what does he mean? – asks Salvatore Pellecchia, general secretary of Fit-Cisl -. I am amazed and also a little distressed by statements of this nature because I think of the reaction of 11,500 families who, since May 2, 2017, have been living the experience of extraordinary administration and are unable to see the light outside the tunnel “.