Rome, Oct 14 (EFE).- The life of Italian airline Alitalia comes to an end Thursday evening with a flight from Cagliari to Rome, thus closing a chapter on 74 years of history and a series of failed rescue bids.
Italy’s new flag-bearer ITA, completely under state control, will be launched in its stead with a fleet of 52 craft but just 3,000 of the 11,000 former Alitalia employees.
Alitalia was the chosen carrier for papal travel and has ferried popes on some 169 international journeys over the decades.
The airline’s history boasts periods of success but it was latterly wracked by continual shortcomings in its management, which culminated in an insurmountable 1.8 billion euros of debt for the state coffers.
After its inaugural flight between Rome and Turin in 1947, Alitalia garnered popularity as one of the world’s best-regarded airlines, renowned for its customer service. In 1960, Alitalia was the official sponsor of the Rome Olympics and in the following decades opened up international routes in the Americas and Asia.
Failed alliance deals in the 1990s precipitated a series of financial failings that by 2017 saw the company go into administration and take on huge loans from the Italian government.
Ahead of the last flight Thursday, Alitalia workers gathered at the Fiumicino airport in Rome to protest the closure of the company, which put 8,000 people out of work.EFE