Briefly on Alitalia & Air France…

January 13, 2009

Air France-KLM nows owns 25% of Alitalia

Air France-KLM nows owns 25% of Alitalia

Air France-KLM now owns 25% of the plagued Alitalia, Italy’s formerly state-controlled airline. The remaining 75% of the newly privatized company will be controlled by 25 investors who comprise the Italian Air Company. Previously Air France-KLM, a French and Dutch corporation, had attempted to buy out all of Alitalia and seize control of the company. There was also interest from Germany’s Lufthansa airline.

Alitalia went brankrupt this past August 2008 and has been purchased for a reported $1.4 million. Air France-KLM will pay approximately €322 million in both cash and equity for their stake in the new Alitalia.

My question is why?

My experience on Alitalia was far from stellar, and now I purposefully look for alternative airlines to utilize when getting to and around Europe.

I first took Alitalia in August 2007 for a semester I spent abroad in Florence. Butchered by peer review sites, I was immeditaely fearing that my luggage would be lost, as so many MANY more before me. While my luggage was luckily intact when I had arrived in Florence (after a lengthy connection in Rome), I was not. The meal service was absolutely repulsive: I still cannot tell whether I had chicken or fish on that flight. The seating was stiff and undersized, as well as cheaply decorated in spotted evergreen material that felt like denim against the back of my neck. Attendants were not rude, but they were also not very friendly. Televisions were scattered about the cabin and often broken. Moreover, the entire airplane felt out of date and rickety.

No mi piace Alitalia

No mi piace Alitalia

Unfortunately, I had purchased a return flight with Alitalia for coming back state side that December after the conclusion of my semester abroad. Along with 400+ other students from NYU’s Florence program alone, I feared an impending strike that was being threatened by Alitalia for the day we were all to return to America. Apparently, this unreliability of flight staff (caused by strikes and the threat of them) was a major reason for the airline’s filing of bankruptcy. Luckily, once again, they were pacified by the Italian government, and we all made it home safe. Not all with our luggage, though: I had my own, but many of my friends did not.

So why does Air France-KLM want to become involved with this plague known as Alitalia? I have absolutely no idea. Here is hoping that they bring it up to Air France’s much-preferred standards.


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