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Arrivederci Alitalia, Ciao…ITA?

The final flights of Alitalia have landed, ending 75 years of Italian aviation history.
After three-quarters of a century as the Italian flag carrier and the unofficial airline of The Pope, Alitalia is no more.


Reuters reports the airline has flown its last flight, with government-owned airline Italia Trasporto Aereo (ITA) taking over the operations on Friday, Oct. 15, 2021.

New Airline, New Owners, Same Alitalia Colors (and Potential Problems)

The modern Alitalia was founded in 1946, as Italy was rebuilding from World War II. Based out of Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport (FCO), the former SkyTeam member operated a fleet of 84 aircraft serving 100 destinations around the world.


Although it was famous for transporting Italy’s most important flyers, its demise began well before the COVID-19 pandemic set in. The carrier’s only profitable year came in 1998, with every other year resulting in losses in the billions. Despite multiple attempts to save the airline – ranging from government grants and loans to investments from Etihad Airways and other carriers – Alitalia was never able to truly escape its poor financial outlook.


To ensure continuity, Alitalia will be replaced by a new airline, ITA. On the surface, very little changes: the new carrier will keep the red and green liveries and keep operating the same fleet. However, the new ownership is under immense pressure to make the carrier profitable.


According to a Financial Times report, while the new airline will be state-owned, they must remain financially independent. In addition, the new carrier must be profitable by the end of 2025. To those ends, ITA will operate with 52 aircraft and nearly 3,000 employees, cutting the fleet in half and reducing the workforce by over 70 percent.


The new carrier will operate flights to 44 destinations, down from the 100 routes at their peak. Their hope is to increase service to 75 cities by 2025 and inking new relationships with airlines. The new frequent flyer program, Volare, will allow mileage transfers from other airlines and feature four loyalty tiers.


While the new carrier is not a member of the SkyTeam alliance, airline leaders tell Reuters they want to rejoin one of the three alliances in the future. Delta Air Lines president Ed Bastian previously said his carrier was in talks to start a joint venture with ITA, suggesting it could rejoin the alliance once more.


Former Alitalia Latest Victim of Global Aviation Downturn

Alitalia is just the latest carrier to be heavily affected by the global aviation downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, Norwegian Air announced they would leave the global ultra-low-cost carrier market in favor of consolidation in Europe, while Virgin Atlantic was forced to declare bankruptcy and create a restructuring plan to stay aloft.

steviebaby October 19, 2021

Nothing will change!
Same (Roman) employees, same mentality, same unions, same greed, same laziness, same mis-management, same black-mail of Italian Govt and politicians in Rome, EVERYTHING SAME!
And Italians will not use it. Youngsters enjoy the myriad routes of Ryanair, Easyjet and Volotea, whilst Businessmen, who actually want an airline with good timekeeping (AZ never did), use the cheery cabin crew of BA via London, or the stern but efficient Germans of LH via Frankfurt or Munich and perhaps the halfway house of KLM via Amsterdam. I even know Businessmen in Tuscany, who drive to Milan Malpensa and use Emirates A380s to JFK.
Note, never AF via Paris as they are more of the same (as AZ, i.e. bad service and timekeeping) and also CDG is an awful airport to transit through.
I give it 5 years before they need yet another bail-out