The suspension of all flights of the Cantania-based airline Wind Jet has led to confusion at Rome’s Fiumicino airport as passengers struggle to get seats on other flights to Sicily.
At least 300 passengers, many of them Israelis, are stranded. Several thousand more are estimated to have bookings on Wind Jet flights up to October.
Grounded passengers are being offered seats on other airlines – from Alitalia to Easyjet – but are being asked to pay for their new tickets as well as for airport taxes, which they say they have already paid when buying their Wind Jet flights.
The suspension of services comes after negotiations between the low-cost Wind Jet and Italian national carrier Alitalia failed at the last moment. The main sticking points in the deal appear to be the re-employment conditions for 500 Wind Jet staff and the number of domestic landing slots that Alitalia will be allowed to keep after its acquisition of Wind Jet.
Talks between Wind Jet and Italy’s ministry for economic development are set for Tuesday 14 August but Wind Jet is now in danger to losing its operating licence.
The Sicilian airline operates mainly domestic services but it also has flights to destinations in France, Russia and Spain. The company has a fleet of 11 A319s and A320s.