Alitalia's final weeks flying marked by protests, apologies

Alitalia pilot strike grounds 35% of flights

MILAN — Italian airline Alitalia has cancelled nearly 200 flights due to a 24-hour pilots strike.

The strike Wednesday comes amid uncertainty over the struggling airline’s future ahead of an Oct. 15 deadline for the presentation of a binding takeover offer from a consortium of investors.

Alitalia cancelled 35% of the 520 flights scheduled during the strike by three unions and assigned larger aircraft to domestic routes in a bid to accommodate passengers whose flights were affected. Flights were guaranteed during morning and evening commute times.

The Italian government has been pressing the U.S. airline Delta to increase its stake in a new Alitalia from around 10% to more than 15%. Leading the new consortium would be the Italian State Railway along with the Benetton family holding company Atlantia.