Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Strike Strands Rome Air Travelers

Holiday travelers are scrambling to find flights out of Rome's Leonardo Da Vinci airport thanks to latest round of labour unrest at Italian airline Alitalia.

The baggage handlers and maintenance staff walked off the job Monday to protest negotiations with CAI, the group of investors that plans to relaunch a smaller, more efficient Alitalia next month.

The strike is now in its second day, which which has grounded about 150 flights in two days. Workers at the ground services unit at Fiumicino airport walked off their jobs on Monday to hold union talks about their futures when an Italian business consortium known as CAI relaunches the troubled carrier next year

The walkout stranded holiday travelers, many of whom were still sleeping on airport benches or standing on long lines Tuesday morning waiting for flights out.

Alitalia went bankrupt earlier this year. Its most valuable assets were bought by the business consortium CAI, a group of Italian businessman who own much if Italy's industry, which plans to merge the airline with a domestic rival AirOne.

The airline's bankruptcy commissioner posted an advertisement in newspapers, including the Financial Times, on Tuesday announcing the sale of 46 Alitalia planes and asking for expressions of interest by Jan 29.

For more about Italy visit WebVisionItaly.com, the only television network about Italy in English.

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