ITA Airways Launches with New Look, Replacing Alitalia
Alitalia operated its last flight on Thursday, ending a 74-year history that had been plagued by a series of financial crises in recent years.
Today, Italy has a new airline, after the bankrupt Alitalia ceased operations the previous day. ITA flew its inaugural flights Friday and unveiled its brand and logo, recycling the red, white and green of its Alitalia origins. An early morning flight from Milan landed in the southern city of Bari to mark the debut of the new, downsized carrier.
“Today is the first day of a story yet to be written,” – said Alfredo Altavilla, President of ITA Airways. “The new brand and the new livery of our aircraft are the symbol of change, of the beginning of a different adventure. The new national airline is an integral part of Italy’s recovery strategy, and it is a result to which all stakeholders, starting with the institutions involved, have actively contributed.”
Italy Air Transport planes will sport a royal blue with Alitalia’s trademark “tricolore” on the tail. The Italian national sports team colors are blue, and company officials said Friday that the color scheme chosen for the new aircraft aims to make ITA “azzurri”, the team nickname.
ITA paid around $105 million for the rights to the Alitalia brand and website. But the new airline now has its own website and a new frequent flier program, called Volare (fly in Italian). It has four status tiers, smart, plus, premium and executive.
The government will invest $1.57 billion over three years in the new airline which starts off with 52 jets and 2,800 employees. Alitalia had 110 aircraft and a workforce of 10,000. The airline will operate with a network of 44 destinations and 59 routes – 191 flights in total (24 domestic and 56 international) – which will increase to 58 destinations and 74 routes in 2022 and 74 destinations and 89 routes in 2025.
Alitalia was part of the SkyTeam alliance with Air France, KLM and Delta. But ITA will have to negotiate a pact from scratch, Reuters reports. It could also choose to team up with others instead, nut that’s unlikely.