Launch of Alitalia’s successor, ITA Airways: Travel Weekly

ROME (AP) – Italy’s new national airline, ITA Airways, made its inaugural flights on Friday and unveiled its brand and logo, recycling the red, white and green of its Alitalia origins as it attempts to charting a new future while competing with low-cost airlines.

ITA, or Italy Air Transport, was officially launched after the bankrupt national airline Alitalia landed its last flights on Thursday evening, ending a 74-year business history that a series of financial crises had marred in recent years.

Protests and strikes accompanied the run-up to Alitalia’s official demise, as the smaller ITA Airways only hires around a quarter of Alitalia’s more than 10,000 employees. Negotiations with the unions are ongoing.

ITA paid 90 million euros (over $ 104 million) for the rights to the Alitalia brand and website, but the new airline is called ITA Airways and has its own website and a new frequent flyer program. , called “Volare” (“Fly”).

“Discontinuity does not mean denying the past, but evolving to stay in tune with the times,” ITA President Alfredo Altavilla said in a statement.

At a launch conference for the airline, Altavilla insisted that ITA’s drastically reduced size – its fleet, workforce, and leaner destinations – make it a viable carrier that can compete. with low cost airlines while providing better service, connections and value.

“ITA Airways is being born at the right size, in the optimal dimensions both in terms of the size of its fleet and its destinations,” he said. “We do not carry with us the negative legacy of being too fat which conflicts with economic reality.”

He bristled when asked about predictions reported by low-cost carriers about the failure of ITA Airways.

“They might be absolutely right that this is going to be difficult for us, but I’m really curious to one day see their PnL (profit and loss) and their balance sheet without all the grants they get from local institutions. and the small airports here in Italy, ”Altavilla said.

“I want a level playing field,” he added.

The first ITA flight took place at 6:20 am between Milan Linate Airport and the Italian city of Bari on the Adriatic Sea. In total, ITA serves 44 destinations and aims to increase this number to 74 in four years.

Among its routes, the company plans to operate flights to New York from Milan and Rome, and to Tokyo, Boston and Miami from Rome.

European destinations from Rome and Linate Airport in Milan will also include Paris, London, Amsterdam, Brussels, Geneva and Frankfurt, Germany. Connections to South America and Los Angeles are planned.

ITA planes will be royal blue with Alitalia’s “tricolor” branding on the tail, reflecting the red, white and green of the Italian flag. The colors of the Italian national sports team are blue, and company officials said on Friday that the color scheme chosen for the new aircraft was also aimed at making ITA “azzurri”, the nickname of the aircraft. ‘team.

For now, the new blue Airbus only exists in commercials, with Alitalia’s old white fleet currently in the sky.

Officials were hesitant about possible partnerships with other airlines. Previously, Alitalia was a member of the SkyTeam alliance, which included Delta, Air France and KLM among others.

The ITA owns 52 planes which it says will grow to 105 over the same period and is pointing to next-generation planes that use sustainable alternative fuel sources.

The company started with 2,800 employees – including 70% of Alitalia – and said it plans to increase its workforce size to 5,750 by 2025.


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