ITA: Alitalia protest blocks Rome airport motorway

Alitalia cancels 160 flights on Friday as staff protest job cuts.

Hundreds of Alitalia workers blocked the motorway between Rome and Fiumicino airport on Friday afternoon in protest over major job cuts at the Italian flag carrier.

There were clashes between protesters and police during the protest which coincided with the cancellation of more than 60 per cent of Alitalia flights.

The action comes as several thousand jobs are set to be lost when Alitalia is replaced by Italia Trasporto Aereo (ITA) which will become Italy's new national airline when it begins operations on 15 October.

In addition to widespread job losses, pilots and flight crews are expecting significant pay cuts, ANSA reports.

Alitalia currently has a staff of 11,000. Italian media reports that 2,800 people are set to be employed in ITA's aviation unit this year, possibly increasing to 5,750 in 2025 if the company wins the tender for Alitalia’s ground handling and maintenance divisions.

ITA will start off with a fleet of 52 planes, with the number of aircraft rising to 78 next year and reaching 105 by the end of 2025, with the company aiming to break even by the third quarter of 2023.

Photo ANSA