Alitalia wildcat grounds 114 flights

A wildcat strike by Alitalia workers Thursday forced the Italian flagship airline to cancel 114 flights.

Submitted by Ed on January 8, 2009

Part of the airline's ground personnel held a general assembly at Rome's Fiumicino airport for several hours early Thursday. The action by workers fearful of losing their jobs when Alitalia is relaunched as a private airline next week caused the cancellation of 63 departing flights and 51 Rome-bound flights.

Several hundred passengers were affected by the action, which could resume in the afternoon, the report said.

Alitalia was saved from the brink of bankruptcy by an all-Italian investor group, the Italian Air Company (CAI). After months of tense negotiations with the unions, CAI finalised a takeover plan involving 3,250 job losses in mid-December.

The deal to acquire Alitalia's passenger operations for 1.052 billion euros (1.43 billion dollars) involves merging the airline with domestic rival Air One. The new Alitalia will operate 670 flights a day, compared with 1,050 previously.