Alitalia took over the passenger transport activity from Wind Jet as per an agreement reached on 13-Apr-2012 following approval from the carrier's board, as reported by local media sources including AGI, World Aeronautical Press Agency, Avionews and Il Messaggero. With the transaction, previously announced in Jan-2012, Alitalia Group "aims at gathering the specific know-how developed by Wind Jet in the low-cost flights sector, thus completing and enriching its range of products and competences. This will allow Alitalia to further diversify its offer, similarly to what has been done with the Air One project, namely to have a wider range of Italian, quality low-cost flights. The operation - which is consistent with the ones recently announced by other European airlines and aims at strengthening our activity in the low cost flight segment - is subject to the success of a series of regulation and market conditions set out in the contract," the carrier said. WindJet reportedly has debts of around EUR100 million. A similar agreement with Blue Panorama has not been approved.
Integration of Wind Jet operations with Alitalia receives board approval
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Alitalia: defying gravity again - another loss, another turnaround plan, maybe another last chance
On 15-Mar-2017 Alitalia’s Board of Directors approved yet another turnaround plan. After losses throughout this century and yet another postponement of Alitalia's planned return to profit, this time pushed back from 2017 to 2019, each successive plan becomes more vital to its survival.
Alitalia's latest plan envisages revenue growth of 30% and cost reductions totalling EUR1 billion by 2019. It includes narrowbody fleet cuts, offset by seat densification, load factor gains and improved utilisation. It plans modest widebody growth, with expansion of capacity to the Americas in particular.
A major focus is to improve Alitalia's competitiveness on short/medium haul, which is increasingly dominated by LCCs, and which is vital to feed its long haul. All the usual features of becoming more competitive versus LCCs are in the plan: lower unit costs, unbundling and a simplified fare structure as a result of headcount reductions and other savings in operating costs.
Labour productivity improvement remains crucial to the plan's success. The plan’s funding, and Alitalia's future growth, will be subject to trade union agreement to a new collective agreement and headcount reductions. However, the immediate union response was to call a strike after management presented the plan to employees. Surely this has to be the last chance.
Alitalia: "everyone has to pull in the same direction" – ongoing issues, and viability is at stake.
After Alitalia’s board approved the second phase of its business plan on 22-Dec-2016, CEO Cramer Ball stressed the importance of achieving the support of its workforce. He said, “Everyone has to pull in the same direction to make Alitalia a viable, sustainable success story and help the airline achieve its ambition of long-term growth and profitability”. Alitalia suffered strike action from some flight crew in 2016.
Full details of the plan, which has received the support of Italy's government, have not yet been made public. Alitalia's network strategy includes further long haul growth and a reworking of its short haul operation, with an emphasis on feeding long haul via Rome and Milan. Other elements of the plan include cost-cutting, reduced headcount and possible changes to joint venture agreements. Details are to be presented to Alitalia’s workforce in Jan-2017.
Also on 22-Dec-2016, Alitalia's shareholders approved short-term funding and gave management 60 days to begin negotiations with key stakeholders - lessors, suppliers and distribution companies, in addition to trade unions. Alitalia needs their support for deep cost reduction measures, in order to win the long-term financing needed to secure the airline's future.