Al Italia today is in the news again. The long discussed tie-up with Air France-KLM seems to have finally collapsed. The Chairman has resigned and the Italian government itself suggests administration is in the offing.
'Twas ever thus in the world of national airline carriers. Countries have highly unionised companies with a proud national brand. But this is not enough anymore, unless you are in the US where the government wants to throw $15 billion at you to keep you afloat.
Interestingly if you read this link, the talks failed because the Unions thought they could play at the table, when in fact Al Italia had no chips at all; the airline was less than worthless due to all its debt and loss-making operations.
Also this week we have had the introduction of Open Skies in Europe, allowing in theory much more competition between the domestic EU carriers. This is only going to lead to more Al Italia type collapses and hurt national pride. Even the US can't really support 4 major international carriers and Europe has more like 12.
Much wailing and knashing of teeth from politicians to come on this subject, perhaps even here in the UK...