Thursday, August 2, 2012

Alitalia has cancelled Wind Jet acquisition

Wind Jet Airbus A320-200 on Rimini Airport. 
The Italian flag-carrier Alitalia has cancelled the plans to take over the low-cost carrier Wind Jet, after the Italian antitrust authority announced, that the airline has to give up slots on the key domestic routes Between Linate and Catania, Linate and Palermo and Rome and Catania in return for the approval to acquire Wind Jet, which was granted by the end of July. Alitalia has already cancelled their plans to acquire Blue Panorama earlier this year. Originally Alitalia announced it´´s plans to absorb both airlinesby beginning of this year to increase it´s importance on the Italian domestic market.

The loss-making Sicilan low-cost Wind Jet is operative since 2003 and has based an Fleet of five Airbus A319 and seven Airbus A320 in Palermo and Catania. Wind Jet provides and huge number of flights between Sicilia and Italian mainland. Beside this, the airline flies from several Destinations in Europe and Russia to some cities in northern Italy and offers connecting flights from there to Palermo and Catania. One of the main airports in northern Italy is Rimini.

The acquire of Wind Jet could have been an of the biggest mistakes for Alitalia in the recent years: the low-cost airline has an horrible image and terrible service: bad on-time performance, dirty planes, run-down cabins, old planes and no on-board service. The aircrafts are leased and are equipped with the seats from the former operator. In planes from Dragonair can the chinese exit-signs still be found. The seats are repaired with cellotape, and of course, dirty.
Since it´s reorganization Alitalia tries to  become and quality carrier with an good on-time performance and  a high level of service. The acquisition of Wind Jet could have derogates the image. Another problem is the schedule and business model of Wind Jet: Several aircraft start their flights in Catania and Palermo and meet in northern Italy. Then they continue to destinations in Europe and Russia with new passengers and transfer passengers from Palermo and Catania. After that they return to the airport and start their flights from there to Catania and Palermo, with new domestic passengers and some international connection passengers. Alitalia as a hub carrier couldn´t continue to operate those services. But they probably did not noticed that.

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