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I had hoped to be able to write a short piece demonstrating how Alitalia could be a successful airline and what may need to happen that could contribute towards a turnaround. There seems, however, to be little going for the Italian national airline given the incredible decision by their workforce not to embrace anything remotely resembling reality.

Other airlines are unwilling to rally round (of course) and there even seems to be a distinct sense of shadenfreude coupled with the low cost carriers circling like vultures over a mortally wounded being. The workforce has a curious attitude which seems to say "It's been like this since time immemorial and something will come along to let us carry on as before... it always does". This time, it would appear, they have cried wolf once too often.

Alitalia best bet lies with (or rather, lay with) Etihad. The Gulf State hubs are/ are going to be critical to global aviation and Alitalia could easily have slotted in as the main connecting airline for the Abu Dhabi hub, servicing a wide range of secondary European (especially Eastern European) and North African destinations. Indeed, by servicing secondary destinations, they could move their Italian base to a more cost effective airport and given that Alitalia had not thrown itself wholesale down the quasi-legacy "me-too" low cost economy road, they could still have upped their game and presented Etihad with a credible European partner, fine-tuning their medium and short haul destinations.

It is or rather, could have been, a great opportunity for a national airline that had not been subsumed into some sort of a grouping. At the end of the day, however .... you can lead a horse to water ....

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