Alitalia was founded in 1946 and quickly became a symbol of national pride, connecting Italy to the world with its distinctive livery and high-end service. However, the airline has struggled to compete in a crowded and increasingly competitive market, and has been beset by financial woes for decades.
One of Alitalia’s biggest problems has been its inability to turn a profit. Despite numerous government bailouts and restructuring efforts, the airline has filed for bankruptcy four times since 2008, with the most recent filing in 2017. These bankruptcies have left Alitalia with huge debts and have forced it to make difficult decisions about which routes to cut and which planes to retire.
Another issue has been the airline’s operational missteps. Alitalia has been criticized for its poor customer service, including delayed and cancelled flights, lost baggage, and rude staff. The airline has also faced controversy over its management decisions, such as the decision to lease aircraft from Etihad Airways, which many analysts saw as a risky move.
In addition, Alitalia has been accused of engaging in anti-competitive practices, such as colluding with other airlines to fix prices and limit capacity. These allegations have led to investigations by European antitrust authorities and have further damaged the airline’s reputation.
Despite these challenges, Alitalia still has some strengths, such as its extensive network of destinations and its iconic branding. However, the airline’s future remains uncertain, as it continues to search for a buyer and a sustainable business model.
In conclusion, Alitalia’s decline is a cautionary tale of the challenges facing national airlines in today’s global market. The airline’s financial woes and operational missteps have left it struggling to compete, and its reputation has been damaged by controversies and allegations of anti-competitive behavior. While Alitalia may still have some strengths, it will need to overcome these challenges if it hopes to remain a viable player in the aviation industry.