ITA To Become Italy’s New National Airline, Replace Alitalia

Filed Under: Alitalia

It would appear that this could actually be the end for Alitalia, as Italy’s government has signed a decree to establish a new national airline.

Alitalia to be replaced by ITA

Details have now been revealed about Italy’s new national airline, which will be the successor of Alitalia. A decree has been signed by Italy’s Economic Development Minister, Finance Minister, and Labor Minister, in support of the new airline.

Italy’s new national airline is for now being referred to as “Newco,” but the expectation is that it will have the name ITA (which stands for Italia Trasporti Aereo). ITA is expected to launch in early 2021.

Italy’s Transport Minister has stated that the new airline will “bring Italy to the world.” She claims that the new airline will represent a “clear discontinuity” from the past.

The establishment of this new company is the first step towards creating a new national airline, which Italy’s Finance Minister says will be “a quality carrier capable of competing on the international market,” which will be “solid and sustainable.”

Why is a new airline even being created?

Alitalia has been in limbo since 2017, when Etihad cut off the airline. Etihad had owned a 49% stake in Alitalia, but didn’t want to sink any more money into the airline, realizing a turnaround was unlikely to ever happen.

At that point the Italian government started supporting the airline, while trying to find a private investor. As you may have guessed, roughly zero progress has been made there in the past three years.

Based on that, the Italian government has decided that:

  • There’s value in having a national airline in Italy
  • It’s more efficient to start from scratch than to try and fix Alitalia

There are lots of questions, few answers

The reality is that as of now there are very few details about what Italy’s new national airline will look like. Just about the only thing that has been clarified is that the airline will be full service, rather than being a low cost carrier.

I sure have lots of questions, including:

  • To what extent will planes and staff be transferred over from Alitalia to ITA?
  • Is the airline planning on buying new planes, as there were recent discussions about Alitalia possibly being interested in 787s?
  • Alitalia is continuing to fly, so when will Alitalia cease operations?
  • Will ITA try to join oneworld or Star Alliance? Alitalia had been kicked out of the SkyTeam transatlantic joint venture, and presumably management sees some value in joining an alliance?
  • How does this strategy compare to the plan the government had earlier this year, where a new company was going to be formed that would take over 100% of Alitalia’s assets?
  • How will this whole thing not be a disaster in the same way that Alitalia was, since the odds of success for a government owned Italian airline seem rather minimal?

Bottom line

Italy’s government is now taking concrete action towards creating a new national airline that will replace Alitalia. The airline will be named ITA, and the plan is for it to be a full service, global airline.

While the government promises that the new airline will offer a “clear discontinuity” from the past, I’m skeptical. Nonetheless I’m very curious to see how this situation evolves.

What’s your take on Italy’s new national airline?

Comments
  1. This is sad, if it comes to fruition. Say what you will about Alitalia, but for many of us Italian Americans, memorable trips to the “Old Country” began and ended with Alitalia. And, in my experience, the onboard service in Magnifica Classe was always excellent. My first international premium cabin experience was in June 1997 from JFK to FCO on an Alitalia MD-11.

  2. ITA is simply the legal name, same how CAI – Compagnia Aerea Italiana is the legal name for current Alitalia.
    The restructured airline will still maintain Alitalia branding.

  3. ‘ Italy’s Transport Minister has stated that the new airline will “bring Italy to the world.” ‘

    Good thing they didn’t launch with that tagline back in April.

  4. So the article above suggests the airline will be called “ITA”

    Why couldn’t or wouldn’t it keep the name Alitalia?

    Another comment above says the branding will maintain the brand name Alitalia, but that’s not what the article says.

  5. Quite a few flaws on this article… Not sure if it was done for the simple reason of clickbait.

    Alitalia isn’t going anywhere. Original Alitalia was “Linee Aeree Italiane S.p.A.”. Then it became “Compagnia Aerea Italiana S.p.A.”. The most Recent one is “Società Aerea Italiana S.p.A.”. The new company is called “Italia Trasporto Aereo S.p.A.”.

    All have been branded Alitalia. That won’t change with the new company legal name. ITA will acquired the callsign, branding rights, and other assets from SAI. Same as CAI did with LAI.

  6. starting from scratch is a way to get rid of all the dead weight of Alitalia — tons of redundancies, bureaucratic hurdles, difficult unions etc. it’s impossible to fix, as Etihad discovered. Honestly these Italian ventures of Etihad and Qatar were really dumb ideas – it was nice for us travelers to travel on these swanky refurbished lie-flat seats for a while, but it could not last.
    I agree that Classe Magnifica is wonderful – not only the food.

    Starting from scratch is much easier than trying to fix Alitalia — if ITA is established, Alitalia can disband and the flight attendants and pilots get hired by ITA, the planes taken over by ITA etc.
    It sounds like the Alitalia branding will not be kept. Some will be disappointed, who have warm feelings towards Alitalia — however, most passengers had pretty mixed experiences, so maybe it is a good idea.
    It will not be a USA-style fire sale, I would expect it to be fair towards the employees. Say what you will about the incredible inefficiency of Italian bureaucracy, but they do actually look after their citizens (inefficiently, but still) quite a bit more than the American government does.

  7. The good news is they will be able to spend yet another tonne of. Ash on a brand new uniform for everyone again. Ha ha ha

  8. We flew Alitalia home from an Italy trip once and it was….different.

    My husband was Delta Diamond at the time so when we checked in we went to the Skymiles elite line and they SCREAMED at us because we were in an elite line. My husband told them he was Delta Diamond and they demanded he show them proof before they’d let him continue in the line, rather than EVERY OTHER AIRLINES EVER that just takes you at your word and looks it up with your reservation. When he did pull up his Diamond card there was absolutely no recognition or apology from them being wrong. It always struck me as weird because what a strange over-reaction to a very normal situation.

    Once onboard everything was completely helter-skelter to the point where I turned to my husband and said “If this plane goes down I am fairly convinced they will have no idea who was actually on the plane” because it seemed like they were letting random people on the plane.

    We survived, but in all of my traveling that has been the strangest flight I ever took, and I’ve had some real doozy intra-Africa flights.

  9. ITA LOT?
    Lufthansa ITA Group?
    Air France ITA KLM?

    Unless you’re saying you didn’t check your sources you shouldn’t be skeptical. This shall be their last chance:

    I feel that they should have rebranded the airline many cycles ago. The brand is damaged so maybe an Italia Transportes Aereos is just what they need

  10. Folding up Alitalia is the only realistic way of getting rid of the overpaid, privileged and lazy staff in the air and on the ground. So very Italian.

  11. Alitalia was *NOT kicked out of SkyTeam* – they were removed from the DL/AF/KLM JV – there’s a big difference

  12. Having been stuck hours on the tarmac due to strikes, i expect strikes till AZ employees are happy. This is the Italian way and the public will support these work actions.

  13. I am curious what will happen to the thousands of people who were forced to get vouchers instead of refunds due to Covid? We cancelled our flight to Italy in February due to the writing on the wall with covid and they so far have only allowed travel from 1 year of voucher issuance.

  14. If they can somehow manage it, they should also get out of the hole that is SkyTeam, and form some partnerships with real meaningful carriers in oneworld or star which can actually help AZ expand its reach and offer some competitive networks to their FFs.

  15. @ Ryan – I’d never heard that Alitalia had MD11 in its fleet, thanks indeed for this info. Also I’ve never been disappointed by service in Magnifica Class on long haul flights. But times change…

  16. @James @Tom +others: From all the press statements I don’t think this is is the previous saving of Alitalia by the back door and a simple change of the legal name but keeping the brand. If you read a lot of the reporting with what’s been said Ben is right, there is a clear intention for something more radical to start anew with a completely untainted brand. It might not come to fruition and they may backtrack to keep the brand depending on the response but certainly atm that is the clear intention.

  17. GLENN T. I, BEING ITALIAN & VERY PROUD
    OF IT; DON’T APPRECIATE YOUR COMMENT
    ON ” ITALIANS BEING BEING LAZY ” WE
    HAVE OVER 3,000yrs. OF HISTORY TO SHOW OUR CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE
    WORLD.YOU COULD BE MORE NICER☆☆
    WE ITALIANS TRY NEW THINGS &OUR
    VENTURES WE SHARE WITH THE WORLD.

  18. Quite frankly, Alitalia this year proved to be one of the more reliable European airlines. They obviously reduced their schedule, as compared to pre-COVID, but then really stuck to their commitment as far as I could tell.

    And yes, totally agree with Tom, that ITA will only be the company name, not the brand name.

  19. ITA is the new name of a Brazilian Airline coming in March 2021. I doubt there would be two carriers with the same name.

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