Italian Minister of Labour and Social Policies, Giuliano Poletti, has dispelled any notion that Alitalia (AZ, Rome Fiumicino) could be renationalized after staff voted on Monday to reject a restructuring programme.

The ratification of the agreement was crucial to Alitalia securing a EUR2 billion euro capital increase, including EUR900 million euros of fresh funds, from shareholders that include Etihad Airways (EY, Abu Dhabi Int'l) and a variety of Italian banks. According to local media reports, over 67% of Alitalia's workforce rejected the deal which was struck between trade unions and management last week and which would have seen around 1,700 lay-offs and wage cuts of 8% for flight crews.

Following the vote, Alitalia's board has called a shareholders meeting for April 27 to discuss the two options now on the table: Either that the carrier prepares to be wound up or that it enters special administration proceedings.

"What we could do, we tried to do obtaining the best possible outcome. Alitalia is a private company, we have to wait for the shareholders' decision; [but in any case] we are ready to protect workers' rights," Poletti was quoted by Italy's RAI television in an interview.

An administrator would determine whether Alitalia is salvageable or should be liquidated. In the event of the former, new industrial and financial plans would have to be drawn up wherein the airline would emerge from administration either as a standalone company or be disposed of.

Italy's Minister of Economic Development, Carlo Calenda, has commented that Rome will ask the European Union for permission to extend a bridge loan to Alitalia of up to EUR400 million to ensure continued operations in the coming weeks.