Alitalia: Chicken, or Wile E. Coyote?

Monday, supposedly the day when flights would start being canceled has come and gone. It’s now Tuesday evening, and things still appear to be running. Negotiations with the unions are still going on, even though they appear to not be going well. The situation is likely to be one of these, but only time will tell which:

  • Chicken. Knowing that time is running out, both the unions, the government, and management are all playing the game of “chicken”, seeing who blinks first. Without staff, the airplanes and airport slots are no good, and without a place to work, being a pilot or airport worker isn’t that great a position to be in either. In this version of things, someone will blink, and a deal will be reached “just in the nick of time”, and everyone will celebrate screwing the Italian taxpayers once again, with some of the denser fans of Berlusconi thinking he’s actually done something good for the country.

  • Wile E. Coyote. Remember the cartoons where the coyote, chasing the road runner, would run off a cliff, stop, look around, look down for a moment, realize he was on thin air, and only then plummet to the ground? The risk is that Alitalia, like the coyote, will somehow claw its way out of the crater it makes in the ground, and continue to be a drag on Italian aviation. It would be worth it to see the coyote look on Berlusconi’s face, but I fear that the “chicken” scenario is more likely.

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