Eurofly, MyAir, WindJet, AirOne, Volareweb, Meridiana and now Air Italy. These are the names of the Italian airlines that ceased operations in the last 20 years. A story of failures in the shadow of the eternal Alitalia kept alive artificially perhaps even at the expense of all the little ones.
Alitalia, continuously funded by state subsidies, has ended up competing unfairly with all the other companies in the Italian skies. Moreover, the main problem for all these airlines was that they thought they could only operate in Italy, without understanding that the competition is now European. Any large European airline, such as Ryanair, coming to operate in Italy, could become more competitive than those small Italian airlines with ease. State aid, therefore, has been counterproductive for the whole Italian aviation sector. By continuing to offer loans that were never repaid, those who benefit from them can constantly operate at a loss and remain alive, complicating the lives of other airlines that are in the market without public money, struggling every day.
Competition from low-cost companies that have lower expenses and, in the case of Ryanair, that pay even less tax in Italy, is unfair. The time has come for the Italian ruling class to face the issue of air transport head-on and stop passing on the costs of mis-management to Italian citizens, with the risk of no longer having a national airline. It is also necessary to think about the "territorial continuity" of Italy, which is divided between a highly industrialized North and South left alone, which is forced to submit to the dominion of Ryanair, due to the absence of a real national airline that takes care of its citizens.
”Alitalia is strategic and will become the national airline again,” is the Italian government's mantra. The revived Alitalia that the government is proposing, would return to the levels of 1957, with 3000 employees and just 30 aircraft. This possible scenario, is far from the beginning of the century (2001-2004) when Alitalia had over 20 thousand employees and a fleet of 160-185 aircraft.