Alitalia was forced to cancel 60 percent of scheduled flights as employees went on strike. As Sara Hemrajani reports, the staff are angry about the loss-making airline's plans to cut 16 percent of its staff and reduce flight personnel's salaries by a third.
Not quite the Easter break these travellers had in mind. The main terminal at Rome's airport was deserted on Wednesday, as Alitalia cancelled dozens of flights due to strike action. Soundbite: Arron Coyle, visitor from Ireland, saying (English): "Unfortunately my flight has been cancelled, it looks like the next flight, I'm going to Amsterdam, the next flight is also cancelled." Outside the building, employees of Italy's flagship carrier gathered to protest against plans to cut staff and pay. Loss-making Alitalia wants to axe 16 percent of its workforce and reduce flight personnel's salaries by a third. Soundbite: Paolo de Montis, USB Union Representative, saying (Italian): "We are here to protest, we are on strike for the hundredth time because this crisis at Alitalia, all the crises, and the industrial plan at Alitalia are always against the workers." Alitalia's CEO says the measures are "painful but necessary". Sources say the airline is losing at least half a million euros a day and could run out of cash in the coming weeks unless shareholders agree to pump in more money.