ROME, August 14 (Itar-Tass) —— The Italian airline Alitalia said it was impossible to resume negotiations on buying the bankrupt low coster Wind Jet.
The Alitalia chief executive officer strongly rejected claims that the national airline had allegedly contributed to the Wind Jet breakdown. He said they had found a solution with great difficulty but Wind Jet failed to meet its commitments. Besides, Alitalia specialists exposed numerous violations in the Wind Jet work, he added.
The called-off deal with Alitalia exacerbated the Wind Jet crisis. The low coster declared suspension of its activity at 2:00 p.m. Moscow time. The decision affected most passengers taking internal routes to Sicily. Three hundred passengers spent the night at the Rome Airport and departed to Catania in the morning.
All the Wind Jet flights to Russia were cancelled on Sunday, although a jet flew from Pisa to the Moscow Domodedovo Airport with a long delay on Saturday.
According to the Italian Civil Aviation Authority (ENAC), 300,000 Wind Jet tickets were sold through October, but transportation was not guaranteed other than in August.
“I guarantee transportation of all the passengers in August. We have created a crisis center, which undertakes Wind Jet commitments jointly with Alitalia, Airone and Meridiana,” ENAC President Vito Riggio said, adding that passengers would have to pay 80 euros extra on domestic routes. “The extra fee may be larger on international routes depending on the operator,” he added.
Livingstone, a new Italian private airline with a fleet of ten Airbus jetliners, will transport passengers to Moscow, St. Petersburg and Rostov.
Five Italian companies, primarily Alitalia, which added 20 flights to the tourist season schedule, were appointed to substitute Wind Jet flights in August. The Alitalia CEO said they were losing 80,000 euros per day because of that.
Not only Wind Jet passengers, who have to pay from 80 euros to 250 euros extra per ticket, but also tour operators, Russian included, have incurred big losses from the Wind Jet halt. Large Russian tour operators, among them Dako, Jet Travel, Tris T, Neva and Flamingo, had Wind Jet as their partner. Tourism industry specialists said that losses might reach millions of dollars. Russia pins big hopes on finding a buyer for Wind Jet, which will prevent an official bankruptcy notification.
It is still unknown what may happen to 504 Wind Jet employees, who are out of job and social benefits. Many of them, including pilots and stewardesses, are staying in Catania, Sicily, the Wind Jet home. They say it is hard to believe that the airline with millions of euros in turnover may go bankrupt.
Ten private low cost airlines operating on national routes have gone bankrupt in Italy since 2000. The Italian consumer associations demanded that the authorities must create efficient legislative mechanisms for protecting passengers in the case of airline bankruptcy.