Alitalia: This is a critical week

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Alitalia's unions, pilots, maintenance workers, and executives have been in frantic negotiations to avert a shut-down this week. The news at this hour is optimistic: A deal struck with major parties in the past day may--hopefully--save the airline. Unions agreed to allow the airline to cut about 3,000 jobs.

But pilots and cabin crews are still resisting a deal. The airline may run out of money to buy fuel within days, and Italy's leading jet fuel supplier refuses to offer any fuel on credit.

Other national airlines have shut down permanently before, such as Swissair and Belgium's Sabena.

If you're flying Alitalia this month, be sure to check with FlightStats.com before you depart to the airport to make sure your flight has not been re-scheduled or otherwise changed. For our other advice, see our earlier blog post.

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The Economist's estimable Gulliver blog is skeptical of the plan to salvage Alitalia

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