September 29 2022, Kimpton Fitzroy London
Friday 30 September 2022, JW Marriott Grosvenor
21 November 2022, Hilton London Metropole
Trading in Alitalia shares has been suspended today (3 April) after the airline”s chairman and director Maurizio Prato quit following the collapse of the proposed take-over deal by Air France-KLM.
A complete fracturing of negotiations between the French flag carrier and nine Italian unions - after numerous meetings - proved fatal as Air France made clear it would not buy the State”s 49.9% share without their support.
”Air France-KLM knows from experience that in the airline industry no restructuring plan has ever succeeded if it was not first agreed by employees,” said an airline statement.
”After several lengthy negotiation sessions, the trade unions today formulated a new proposal corresponding to a totally different framework to the one in which Air France-KLM had restricted itself since Autumn 2007.
”Air France-KLM was thus regretfully forced to accept that there was no longer any basis for further negotiations.”
The unions were never happy with Air France”s plan to cut 2,100 jobs in order to turn around the Italian airline”s fortunes, and the alternative proposal that was formulated ” ”which would involve retaining a number of activities generating large scale-losses within the Alitalia group” ” would be ”incompatible with the target of a rapid return to profit,” said the French carrier.
Air France chairman Jean-Cyril Spinetta said: ”I regretfully acknowledge the breakdown in negotiations, which is none of our doing.
”This is a project I have profoundly believed in and continue to do so, because it would have ensured Alitalia a rapid return to profitable growth.”
The question now is what will happen to an airline which is still haemorrhaging around ”1m a day and has no-one at the helm.
One of the unions ” CISL - has sent a letter to the government demanding - in the light of these events - an ”urgent meeting” for the necessary appraisal of the carrier”s situation.
Alitalia”s Board of Directors will hold emergency talks today ”in order to take the necessary and opportune resolutions,” it said in a statement.
Whether all of Air France”s original rival bidders are still circling is not clear, but fellow Italian operator Air One was still showing some interest last week.
Italy”s elections are coming up on 13-14 April and a change of government could completely alter the complexion of the situation.
Former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, is running for power saying he wants to keep Alitalia in national hands.