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Alitalia strike disrupts air travel in Italy

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Alitalia strike disrupts air travel in Italy
File photo of an Alitalia aircraft: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP
08:59 CET+01:00
Air traffic in Italy will be disrupted on Monday due to strikes at the nation's airports, including a four-hour work stoppage by air traffic controllers.

Five unions representing the controllers called for a strike between 1:00 pm and 5:00 pm (1200-1600 GMT), union sources said on Sunday.

In addition, air transport employees have been asked to go off duty on Monday, except during two guaranteed three-hour periods of service from 7:00-10:00 am and from 6:00-9:00 pm.

Italian air carrier Alitalia announced that around 40 percent of its domestic and international flights have been cancelled. Travellers are advised to check the status of their flight before going to the airport, while Alitalia has committed to rebook passengers affected by the cancellations on the first available flights.

A full list of the cancelled flights (in English) can be viewed here.

Also on Monday, the government as well as the management and unions of Alitalia are set to hold talks over planned cuts at the airline.

Alitalia, facing fierce competition from low-cost carriers like Ryanair, is expected to cut 2,000 jobs and slash salaries by nearly a third, moves opposed by the unions which have called for a strike at the Italian carrier on April 5th.

Extensive jobs cuts have been anticipated for months at the loss-making Italian carrier which announced a drastic cost-cutting plan last week.

The company is de facto controlled by Etihad Airways. which acquired a 49 percent stake when it saved Alitalia from bankruptcy in 2014.

The Emirati airline entered the partnership declaring its intention to transform Alitalia into a leaner operation with industry-leading service standards - both goals it has failed to deliver, according to industry analysts.

The latest survival plan involves cutting costs by one billion euros ($1.07 billion) by the end of 2019 whilst simultaneously growing sales by 30 percent.

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