Sunday, 16 November 2008

Alitalia strike to save jobs and routes stops flights

It has been a tough week so far for people booked to fly with Alitalia, as Monday’s strike led to interminable queues, delays, and cancellations at Italian airports, because the strike had forced the carrier to cancel dozens of flights. The strike is in opposition to management’s plan to cut routes and jobs.

The long lines at Alitalia check-in counters at Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci Airport stretched almost to 100 metres as the terminal struggled with a backlog of hundreds of passengers who had spent the night sleeping on the floor or in chairs after their flights were cancelled due to the strike on Monday.

Some angry travelers even had to be calmed down by police as tempers grew, and ground staff started to feel unsafe.

Alitalia said that a total of 124 flights had been cancelled on Tuesday as a result of the Monday strike itself, and also because of work-to-rule action afterwards.

Some 200 Alitalia flight attendants and pilots staged a wildcat strike on Monday, blocking the crew entrance at Leonardo da Vinci and preventing staff wanting to fly from entering the terminal.

About forty flights in and out of Rome and Milan were cancelled on Saturday and further delays are expected next week.

The airline, which is 49.9 percent state-owned, is currently losing some three million euros (3.8 million dollars) a day.

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