Air Transport World

Alitalia in great shape, but terrorism may weaken 1986.

Alitalia in great shape, but terrorism may weaken 1986

Last year was another good year for Alitalia, as a matter of fact a record year. And this year was shaping up well too until the terrorist attacks at the Rome and Athens airports, the U.S.--Libya confrontation in the Gulf of Sidra, and a new wave of terrorism revived the jitters that had been set off by the hijacking of the Achille Lauro and a TWA jet late last year and scared off many prospective tourists.

How much and how soon this traffic will bounce back remains to be seen. If, as expected, it does recover, Alitalia's big problem then will probably be the weakening U.S. dollar. The lure of better travel bargains closer to home, like the fear of terrorism, has been turning the eyes of American vacationers away from the Mediterranean area. This hurts, since the North Atlantic sector is the biggest producer in Alitalia's international network.

Whatever happens, Alitalia considers itself in the best operating shape ever, as a result of fleet and service improvements and unprecedented labor serenity at Rome's often-troubled Leonardo de Vinci-Fiumicino airport. Assuming a cure is found for the terrorist blight, the carrier is in a position to move ahead handsomely. This good news was trumpeted in late March to a gathering of nearly 200 Italian and foreign journalists at the Sicilian resort of Taormina and later amplified to ATW in Rome.

The figures that follow are unofficial since the annual report was yet to be issued at the time of this writing and various fiscal adjustments were yet to me made. But company officials assured ATW they are reasonably close to final. Any way you look at them they are impressive, for the Alitalia Group as a whole and the airline operation particularly.

The Alitalia Group consists of the flag carrier Alitalia, its wholly owned domestic subsidiary ATI (Aero Trasporti Italiani), which absorbed charter carrier Aermediterranea last year, a controlling interest and management responsibility over Aeroporti di Roma, which operates Rome-Fiumicino and Rome-Ciampino airports and a minority interest in Sigma, a computerized multi-access reservations and ticketing system.

Twice the profit

This group took in consolidated revenues of lire 3930 billion (U. …

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