Italy’s ITA Airways Joins SkyTeam Alliance

Italy’s ITA Airways Joins SkyTeam Alliance

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SkyTeam has a new member airline, and I guess this doesn’t come as much of a surprise.

ITA Airways is now a SkyTeam member

It has today been announced that ITA Airways has formally joined the SkyTeam alliance. ITA Airways is Italy’s new national airline, replacing Alitalia. The airline is essentially a smaller version of Alitalia with a clean balance sheet. In that sense, it’s not surprising to see ITA Airways join SkyTeam, since Alitalia used to be a member.

SkyTeam is one of the “big three” global alliances, with member airlines including Aeroflot, Air France, China Eastern, Delta, KLM, Korean Air, Vietnam Airlines, and many more.

ITA Airways joining SkyTeam could have some interesting implications for those taking advantage of the ITA Volare program’s status match campaign. Then again, SkyTeam doesn’t exactly have the most robust reciprocal perks, at least in comparison to oneworld and Star Alliance.

Walter Cho, the Chairman of SkyTeam, had the following to say:

“For more than 20 years, the Italian market has been a cornerstone of SkyTeam’s European network and no other airline alliance connects Italy better to the world. We warmly welcome ITA Airways’ decision to join our alliance and ensure continuity of service for the millions of customers who choose SkyTeam as their preferred alliance to Italy. SkyTeam and our members look forward to working with ITA Airways to establish long-term partnership opportunities going forward.”

Alfredo Altavilla, Chairman of ITA Airways, had the following to say:

“Joining SkyTeam is a natural step, enabling us to continue to deliver a global network and seamless experience that customers flying to and from Italy expect. We look forward to close cooperation with our SkyTeam partners to support the start-up of our company, the Italian flag carrier.”

ITA Airways has joined SkyTeam

Is SkyTeam the best option for ITA Airways?

It’s not surprising to see ITA Airways join the SkyTeam alliance:

  • Government owned and other new global airlines seem to think that they need to join a global alliance to be successful, so this was clearly a priority for ITA
  • The carrier’s predecessor belonged to the SkyTeam alliance, so it’s the obvious alliance for ITA to join

While I’m not surprised this has happened, I can’t help but think that ITA could have been a better fit for oneworld:

  • Delta is SkyTeam’s largest and most powerful member airline, and the airline doesn’t really care about the alliance, but rather is exclusively focused on strategic partnerships and joint ventures; when Delta invests in other airlines (like LATAM and Virgin Atlantic), it doesn’t even encourage them to join SkyTeam
  • Alitalia had been kicked out of the SkyTeam transatlantic joint venture, as the priority was to have a single joint venture with Air France, Delta, KLM, and Virgin Atlantic; so ITA has very little upside on transatlantic flights with its SkyTeam membership (then again, adding an airline to a transatlantic joint venture isn’t easy, regardless)

ITA Airways joining oneworld would have been a long shot, even if it seems like the better fit…

I find SkyTeam to be the weakest global alliance

Bottom line

ITA Airways has joined the SkyTeam alliance, which is good news. This means it should be able to earn and redeem miles on ITA Airways through SkyTeam partners, and take advantage of reciprocal elite perks.

Personally I would have preferred to see ITA Airways join oneworld (especially as the alliance is looking to grow aggressively), but I’m not surprised to see ITA simply rejoin the alliance that Alitalia was previously in.

What do you make of ITA Airways joining the SkyTeam alliance?

Conversations (15)
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  1. Frog Guest

    ITA has a long way to go. They don’t even have a working English website yet. It’s all in Italian right now.

  2. glenn t Diamond

    I would have been (almost) excited to see ITA break the mould and join OW, but like Ben am unsurprised at where things ended up.
    Walking in Alitalia's footprints does not seem to be a winning formula, as we all know where they led ultimately.

  3. John A D ("Sandy") Needham Guest

    I hope this leads to some internationally acceptable standards, regardless of names. I was on Alitalia some 6 weeks ago - JFK > FCO > JFK in premium economy. It was absolutely dreadful from two points of view. The food was appalling, almost non-existent, no drinks at all beyond water and the cabin staff were miserable - surly I think might be a good word.
    There are some mountains for the new management to...

    I hope this leads to some internationally acceptable standards, regardless of names. I was on Alitalia some 6 weeks ago - JFK > FCO > JFK in premium economy. It was absolutely dreadful from two points of view. The food was appalling, almost non-existent, no drinks at all beyond water and the cabin staff were miserable - surly I think might be a good word.
    There are some mountains for the new management to climb - first they need to get up to the standard of US domestic airlines - not a high bar, but they have to put some effort into it.

  4. Alex Guest

    This is all about DL wanting to extend its former JV with the old AZ to the new AZ. It would look really bad if ITA went to an alliance like Star (I don't really see them joining OW). This is the first time in a long time that SkyTeam has flexed some muscle. However, it's a mystery as to what DL plans to do with SkyTeam. It hasn't really pushed for greater synergies to...

    This is all about DL wanting to extend its former JV with the old AZ to the new AZ. It would look really bad if ITA went to an alliance like Star (I don't really see them joining OW). This is the first time in a long time that SkyTeam has flexed some muscle. However, it's a mystery as to what DL plans to do with SkyTeam. It hasn't really pushed for greater synergies to go after new business within the alliance. Certain carriers like SU, MU and SV are from weird countries with weird laws, and though they offer a lot of coverage in their own markets, they are very much idiosyncratic, and DL doesn't codeshare with them. Carriers like OK, RO, and ME are very small potatoes. SkyTeam is a wastebasket of carriers outside the Big 5 (DL/AF/KL/VS/KE), so DL is right in its approach to forming ties outside the alliance.

    1. VT-CIE Gold

      VS is not actually in SkyTeam, but given the level of cooperation with DL it has, that hardly matters.

  5. Giovanna New Member

    Maybe before thinking of joining a team they should have thought about all the authorizations they need! They had to divert 8 flights last week because they couldn't land at Milano Linate because the don't have the authorizations from ENAC to land with fog!

  6. Eskimo Guest

    Forget about alliance.

    How many times have Alitalia been assimilated into Alitalia which isn't Alitalia but will eventually be Alitalia which will soon be like the rest of Alitalia just to be taken over by another Alitalia again.

    This is probably the Italian way to screw creditors, regulators, and customers. It like Chapter 11 but with a middle finger.

    Let's cut out all the trash. Abandon the loyal customers.
    Start clean slate, and acquire...

    Forget about alliance.

    How many times have Alitalia been assimilated into Alitalia which isn't Alitalia but will eventually be Alitalia which will soon be like the rest of Alitalia just to be taken over by another Alitalia again.

    This is probably the Italian way to screw creditors, regulators, and customers. It like Chapter 11 but with a middle finger.

    Let's cut out all the trash. Abandon the loyal customers.
    Start clean slate, and acquire what isn't trash for cheap.
    Operate the same old way.
    Go bankrupt in 5-10 years. Screw creditors, regulators, and customers.
    Rinse and repeat.

  7. LarryInNYC New Member

    Is their status match still active?

    I did the AA challenge to Plat Pro and could now parlay that into Star Gold (through Aeroplan) and SkyTeam status through ITA.

  8. 305 Guest

    Oneworld would have been great. AA has cut all service to FCO until March, and has nothing to MXP in November. Most BA/IB connections to head back to the US are brutal: either overnight in connecting city, change of airport in London, or 6:00am departure from FCO.

    ITA could have helped fix these issues with Oneworld. SkyTeam already has solid connectivity in/out of FCO and MXP; there's none of the nonsense above that Oneworld...

    Oneworld would have been great. AA has cut all service to FCO until March, and has nothing to MXP in November. Most BA/IB connections to head back to the US are brutal: either overnight in connecting city, change of airport in London, or 6:00am departure from FCO.

    ITA could have helped fix these issues with Oneworld. SkyTeam already has solid connectivity in/out of FCO and MXP; there's none of the nonsense above that Oneworld puts you through. Flying back via AMS on KLM/Delta is the best: can depart FCO as late as 1pm and Schiphol is infinitely better than LHR.

    1. shoeguy Guest

      I suspect OW didn't want them. Also, AA hasn't cut FCO. Almost all of AA's FCO portfolio is seasonal, though each year the season gets longer, with JFK in particular, which, just before the pandemic was due to start in March, not April/May as it usually has. AA's only year round FCO route was PHL.

    2. 305 Guest

      And they cut PHL entirely this year, hence they have now cut FCO completely out of their network until March.

  9. James Guest

    I got a successful match with BA Gold to the top tier Executive in a week. No card yet. Wonder when Skyteam perks will apply to members.

  10. Tim Dunn Gold

    "better fit" rarely means what avgeeks think it does. It can hardly be considered rational for the Star alliance to have a half dozen hubs across multiple countries competing for the same traffic flows across Central Europe but that is what exists.
    Alitalia and now ITA have established and proven routes via Skyteam hubs which are stable and are operated by Skyteam airlines. Marketing relationships take years to develop and both Skyteam (which heavily...

    "better fit" rarely means what avgeeks think it does. It can hardly be considered rational for the Star alliance to have a half dozen hubs across multiple countries competing for the same traffic flows across Central Europe but that is what exists.
    Alitalia and now ITA have established and proven routes via Skyteam hubs which are stable and are operated by Skyteam airlines. Marketing relationships take years to develop and both Skyteam (which heavily means Delta in this case) and ITA recognize they are better off working together.
    In time, ITA might work its way back into the multi-carrier transatlantic joint venture

  11. Jan Guest

    So who did a successful status match?
    Did anyone already receive a card already?

    1. Peter Guest

      1) yes, almost immediately - AA PLT to "Premier", wife AA Gold to "Plus"
      2) Card? lol. Their tiers' names don't even match between what is buried in their T/C (the only place anything is written about it) and the name they use in the confirmation. And no benefits are listed anywhere.

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VT-CIE Gold

VS is not actually in SkyTeam, but given the level of cooperation with DL it has, that hardly matters.

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Frog Guest

ITA has a long way to go. They don’t even have a working English website yet. It’s all in Italian right now.

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glenn t Diamond

I would have been (almost) excited to see ITA break the mould and join OW, but like Ben am unsurprised at where things ended up. Walking in Alitalia's footprints does not seem to be a winning formula, as we all know where they led ultimately.

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