I don’t think that the America press has given much notice to current financial difficulties of Alitalia as the European press. With the Air France/KLM deal being scuttled, everyone is unsure how much longer Alitalia will continue. Recently in the press, the European Union gave notice that it had some issues with a loan recently made to the cash-strapped airline — called a bridging loan. The Italian government claimed that the loan was issued at commercial rates which would then remove the aid restriction since it would be just as if Alitalia had gone to a bank and asked for more money. Presumably, this loan is meant to sustain the airline until this cordata (group, consortium) that Berlusconi keeps mentioning (but we have yet to know who or what this consortium is?) that is supposedly meant to save the airline from financial ruin.
So what might this mean to consumers?
Should the airline go into bankruptcy protection, hopefully they will do what US Airways, United and Delta did — that is, keep flying and earning money, and hopefully find their way out of financial difficulties. This will mean very little if you’ve already purchased a ticket, and you probably won’t notice much disruption in service.
If not, you could be left without any recourse as bankruptcy protection protects the airline from creditors and those seeking to get their money back. It would be a shame to see Italy’s airline collapse, but I think that if Alitalia can remain solvent through the summer, they are probably set to make some good money even with the current price of jet fuel and remain viable for the near future.
I think that it is important for consumers to know about the current transportation situation in Italy in order to make informed choices.