Get ready for Alitalia 4. Due to the coronavirus, efforts to sell the flag carrier have failed. Now the beleaguered Italian government is preparing to take control of the carrier. What could go wrong?
“The Italian government plans to take control of Alitalia, a draft decree seen by Reuters showed on Monday, as the loss-making carrier risks going belly up due to the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.
The government has earmarked 600 million euros ($670 million) to keep the airline afloat, the draft decree also showed.
On Sunday a source with knowledge of the matter told Reuters Alitalia had nearly run out of cash despite having received 400 million euros from the government at the beginning of this year.”
In other news, Alitalia is operating special repatriation flights of Italian citizens.
After the decision of almost all international airlines to suspend air services to and from Italy, Alitalia will continue to guarantee, unless restrictions on air traffic, international flights to and from Brussels, Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich, Paris, Marseille, Nice, Cairo and Algiers.
Alitalia will also fly on long-haul routes to and from Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Johannesburg, Delhi, Tokyo and – until March 17 – Miami and Buenos Aires.
In Italy, the airline will continue to operate at least one daily return flight to and from most of the domestic airports still open after the provisions of the Decree of the Italian Ministry of Infrastructure and Transports.
Alitalia also reminds that, following the temporary closure of Milan Linate airport, from March 16, it will move its operations to Terminal 2 at Milan Malpensa airport. The airline will fly from Malpensa to domestic airports such as Bari, Cagliari, Catania, Lamezia Terme, Naples, Palermo and Rome Fiumicino. Furthermore, starting from March 17, check-in operations for all Alitalia’s domestic, international and intercontinental flights at Rome Fiumicino airport will be carried out at Terminal 3, following the temporary closure of Terminal 1.
Finally, Alitalia is requiring passengers to wear protective masks.
Alitalia issued this statement:
The health and safety of travellers and employees has always been Alitalia’s top priority. For this reason, Alitalia informs passengers that they will be asked to provide themselves, before boarding the plane, with a protective breathing mask which must be worn if a large number of travelers on board doesn’t allow to respect the 1-meter interpersonal safety distance.
The measure comes into force with immediate effect and is part of the protocols against infection that have been adopted by Alitalia in accordance with the provisions of the competent Authorities. Alitalia could therefore deny boarding to passengers who will not be in possession of the personal protective devices. Alitalia recommends travelers to wear protective breathing mask also at airports and during boarding and disembarking from aircraft.
The new safety procedure comes on the heels of the other extraordinary measures adopted by Alitalia to protect the health of travelers and employees, sometimes also through the redesign of the onboard service. Furthermore, in order to limit the spread of COVID-19, Alitalia has increased the cleaning activities on its entire fleet, with daily disinfection and sanitation of all the surfaces in the aircraft cabins.
Alitalia crews are trained to activate, if necessary, the health protocol provided to protect travelers from the risk of contamination. Crew members also have on planes a biohazard kit available to deal with passengers with suspicious symptoms, latex gloves to collect items distributed on board and protective breathing masks to be used during service.
All of Alitalia aircraft fleet are equipped with hospital grade high-efficiency particulate (HEPA) filters which ensure 99.7% cleaning of the cabin air and completely exchange with fresh air thirty times per hour.
Staff at airports may also use protective breathing masks and latex gloves during service. Furthermore, Alitalia has established a quota system for access to the lounges with the aim of ensuring compliance with the safety distances established by the Italian Government’s provisions.
Alitalia has also adopted smart working solutions to keep its ground employees as safe as possible preventing the spread of the disease.
Alitalia aircraft photo gallery: