Tuesday, October 3, 2023
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Hundreds of ex-Air Italy staff laid off

MILAN (AFP) – More than 1,300 staff at Italian carrier Air Italy, which went bust in 2020, on Monday began receiving letters terminating their employment, trade unions said.

Pilots and cabin crew had been protected by a furlough scheme since the February 2020 bankruptcy of the airline, which had been held 51 per cent by the Aga Khan and 49 per cent by Qatar Airways.

However, this has not been extended.

The transport divisions of the Cgil and Cisl unions, in a joint statement with Uiltrasporti and Ugl Trasporto Aereo, called for “urgent government action to stop the process and avert this real social tragedy”.

By contrast, around 8,000 employees of Alitalia, which ceased operating in October, have seen their furlough scheme extended into 2022.

The successor of Alitalia, ITA Airways, had in December taken on 2,141 staff, less than the 2,800 initially announced for 2021, but has promised to hire at least 1,000 more this year.

Launched with great fanfare in February 2018, Air Italy – formerly called Meridiana – had hoped to benefit from ongoing problems at Alitalia, but ended up losing hundreds of millions of euros.

Based in Sardinia, but with a hub in Milan, it operated mainly domestic flights in Italy but also routes to the United States (US) , Canada and Africa.

Air Italy in 2018 recorded loses of EUR164 million, which rose to around EUR200 million the following year.

An ITA Airways’ Airbus A320 passenger airplane, bearing the Alitalia livery, taking off from Rome’s Fiumicimo airport. PHOTO: AFP
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