Behind the spin: Alitalia

THE DILEMMA

How to stay alive, is the simple answer. The flagship Italian airline staggers from one month to the next, haemorrhaging cash along the way. The company, 49.9% owned by the Italian government, is losing EUR3m a day and has a total debt of EUR1.2bn and rising. It was given an emergency transfusion of funds last month when Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi ordered EUR300m of taxpayers' money to be pumped into it. But unless a buyer for the government's stake can be found, Alitalia's time in intensive care may quickly end.

THE SPIN

There isn't any. No matter which way you squint at this situation, Alitalia as we know it is heading for an early grave.

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