Ciao Alitalia! It is a page of 75 years of Italian aeronautical history which is turned this Thursday, October 14 with the last flights of the historic transalpine airline which folds its wings forever. And buongiorno ITA (for Italia Trasporto Aereo) which will be born from its ashes to make its first commercial flights the next day.
The company was the official carrier of the popes since Paul VI inaugurated the apostolic journeys around the world. Pope Francis paid tribute to him on September 12 on his flight from Rome to Budapest, saying “Alitalia is leaving us, thank you Alitalia”. The Vatican has not communicated on whether it will usher in a new period with ITA for its trip to Greece and Crete in early December.
First flight in May 1947
Alitalia made its first flight in May 1947 between Turin, Rome and Catania with around twenty passengers. The company had succeeded in hoisting itself in the skies of the very first world carriers before the deregulation of the European skies of the 1970s triggered the economic turbulence from which it was hardly ever able to extricate itself.
Turbulence that turned into tornadoes. From setbacks to setbacks, Alitalia suffered more than 11 billion euros in losses between 2000 and 2020 and had to be placed under the supervision of the public administration in 2017. Rome has since sought buyers, but in vain. The ITA project was therefore born in 2020.
The choice of Airbus
The fleet of the newcomer in the Italian sky will include only 52 aircraft at the start, half the size of Alitalia from whom it bought them in direct negotiations. Its industrial plan provides for around 100 aircraft by 2025. At the end of September, ITA also announced that it had just concluded an agreement with Airbus for the purchase of 28 long and medium-haul aircraft, as well as an agreement with the aircraft leasing company Air Lease Corporation for 31 additional new generation Airbuses.
Regarding employment, ITA should take over nearly 3,000 Alitalia employees with new employment contracts and a priori with lower wages for its airline activity. Much to the anger of the unions. The workforce could increase to more than 5,500 employees in 2025. Several thousand other people could join them in the event of the acquisition of maintenance activities and ground services. Alitalia had until then around 11,000 employees.
A brand up for auction
To allow ITA to take off, the Italian government injected 700 million euros in the capital at the end of July, and two other capital increases are planned in 2022 and 2023, to bring the total to 1.35 billion euros. ITA expects an operational balance for the third quarter of 2023.
Alitalia therefore went to join the cemetery of missing companies, such as, in the 2000s, the French XL Airways and Aigle Azur in 2019, Air Berlin in 2017, Swissair in 2002 or even the Belgian Sabena in 2001. But the story does not. is perhaps not over for the brand which could be put up for sale in a public tender for almost 300 million euros. Finally, the sky could one day see planes with the famous green acronym.