By Laura Girasole
Yesterday, Italy’s wrecked ex-flag carrier, Alitalia, refused an offer of help to maintain its services from low-cost airline Ryanair.
With the opening of three new domestic routes, which will connect southern cities to Rome, Ryanair Deputy Chief Executive, Michael Cawley, invited Alitalia to accept some help. The three routes will fly to Alitalia’ s hub Fiumicino feeding Alitalia’s international flights. Ryanair also opened the doors to further cooperation. Cawley said: “Ryanair believes that by offering to feed Alitalia’s international hub at Fiumicino and by searching for opportunities to work with and assist Alitalia in its turnaround, that we can help the new investors and the management of Alitalia to return that airline to profitability and viability.”
Alitalia swiftly refused. They said: “Alitalia thanks Ryanair for its cooperation offer but we wish to remind that we have our own strategy, our own industrial plan, our own air fleet and our own staff which allow us to have the appropriate feed for our international and intercontinental flights leaving from Fiumicino Hub.”
In a press statement, Alitalia also expressed its disappointment about Ryanair flying to Fiumicino instead of Ciampino, Rome’s peripheral airport. Alitalia said:”It is a shame. Everywhere in first-world countries, low cost airlines fly to small suburban airports and not to hubs.”
Alitalia is going through hard times. The airline is in a deep crisis, which led to a drastic reduction of domestic and international flights. The company has been relying on capital injections for the decade. Today, it will be crucial due to a deadline for a capital increase, which should keep it running. Alitalia hopes that this and a new business plan focusing on competitiveness will be enough to save the airline from bankruptcy.
Meanwhile, the airline has lost the leadership of Italy’s air traffic. Ryanair is now the number one carrier and its profits in Italy keep soaring.