Alitalia: the other shoe drops?

The group of investors who were ready to sweep up all the good, productive, moneymaking parts of Alitalia (being a businessman with government connections in Italy is sure a tough job) appear to have withdrawn their offer after they failed to come to an agreement with unions:

http://edition.cnn.com/2008/BUSINESS/09/18/alitalia.financial.trouble/index.html

The latest, in Italian, from the Corriere della Sera.

Like the monster in some horror movie, though, it seems that Alitalia always manages to claw its way back in action. Wounded gravely, it staggers inexorably towards the heroine – can anyone stop it?

Of course, amongst everyone involved, the blame game has started: Berlusconi says it’s all the union’s fault, the unions say that it’s the politicians’ fault, and so on. I’m not sure exactly what game the unions are playing, as they are facing unemployment in short order, so a reduced salary would have been better than nothing. I suppose they thought it was worth it to sink what was such a bad deal for everyone but the wealthy groups who were being offered the nicest bits of Alitalia without having to deal with the garbage. In any case, it’s quite two-faced of Berlusconi to talk about playing politics with the company’s fate, when that is precisely what he did to help sink the Air France offer.

I’m cautiously optimistic that this time, events may have finally conspired to hole Alitalia below the waterline. Unfortunately, this will still lead to taxpayer debts, but after the Air France offer was withdrawn, that was pretty much a given. Hopefully at this point, the good bits of the company will be auctioned off to pay Alitalia’s creditors, and the whole thing will finally be laid to rest, opening up the Italian aviation market for fitter, healthier, more productive and less strike-prone companies to jump in.

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