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New Alitalia Takes to the Skies


Italy's Alitalia airlines has taken to the skies as a revamped, privately owned carrier Tuesday after nearly being grounded for good.

Italian investors who took over Alitalia from the Italian government last year formally approved a partnership Monday with Air France-KLM, allowing that airline to purchase 25 percent of Alitalia.

The new airline retains the Alitalia name and logo.

It will own fewer planes, fly fewer flights and employ a smaller staff than the old Alitalia. Workers at Milan's Linate Airport protested the cuts in service and staff reductions forcing the cancellation of 11 flights. Protesters also demonstrated at the city's Malpensa Airport and at Rome's main airport.

The old airline was billions of dollars in debt and losing $3 million a day because of high fuel costs, labor problems and competition from discount airlines.

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi had made saving Alitalia a priority since he returned to power last year.


Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.



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