Italy’s New National Airline, ITA, Reveals All-Airbus Fleet Plans

Italy’s New National Airline, ITA, Reveals All-Airbus Fleet Plans

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Italy’s new national airline, which will be replacing Alitalia, has just revealed its fleet plans. It’s not at all what many of us were expecting.

The basics of ITA, Italy’s new national airline

As of October 15, 2021, Alitalia will cease operations, after years of financial struggles. The airline will be replaced by Italia Trasporto Aereo (ITA), which will have a clean balance sheet.

There have been a lot of questions about whether ITA would actually look materially different than Alitalia. That’s because there had been talk of ITA bidding on many of Alitalia’s assets, including the carrier’s name, fleet, etc.

Well, ITA has just revealed its fleet plans, and it’s going to look a whole lot different than the Alitalia fleet.

Alitalia will cease operations in mid-October

ITA reveals strategic partnership with Airbus

Italy’s new national airline has selected Airbus as a strategic partner, as the airline has both ordered new Airbus aircraft, and also plans to lease some existing Airbus aircraft. With this plan, ITA’s fleet will consist exclusively of Airbus aircraft.

To start, ITA has signed a memorandum of understanding with Airbus for the purchase of 28 new aircraft, with plans for the airplanes to be delivered starting late in the first quarter of 2022. This order includes:

  • 10 Airbus A330neo aircraft
  • 11 Airbus A320neo-family aircraft
  • Seven Airbus A220 aircraft

ITA has also signed an agreement with Air Lease Corporation for the lease of further Airbus aircraft, ranging from short haul aircraft to long haul aircraft. This will include:

  • 13 Airbus A350-900 aircraft
  • Some number of Airbus short haul aircraft; the details here are still a bit fuzzy

With this plan, ITA would operate a fleet of 52 Airbus aircraft in the coming months, with plans to grow the fleet to 105 aircraft by 2025. In order to eventually achieve a fleet of 105 aircraft, ITA will be working with six aircraft leasing partners (which is more efficient than the 12 leasing partners that Alitalia had worked with).

The airline claims that the economics of these agreements are great, and that the financing costs are much better than what Alitalia was paying. Furthermore, the airline hopes that by having an all-Airbus fleet, there will be some savings in terms of commonality.

Some of the details of these plans still remain to be seen — for example, ITA intends to launch operations in just over two weeks, so which planes will the airline initially have? Some of these planes will be delivered in the coming months, but what happens in the meantime?

ITA is partnering with Airbus for its fleet

I’m suddenly more excited about Italy’s new airline

I’ve gotta be honest, my expectation was that Italy’s new airline would more or less be the same as Alitalia, from the name, to the planes, to the fleet. So I’m a little more excited about the airline now that we’ve learned that ITA will have a completely different fleet than Alitalia had.

ITA will operate A350-900s and A330neos on long haul flights, and A320neos and A220s on short haul flights. That’s a pretty awesome fleet, if you ask me. I also can’t wait to see what kind of seats ITA selects for these planes.

ITA will probably have a new business class product

Bottom line

Italy’s new national airline, ITA, is launching operations as of October 15, 2021, which coincides with Alitalia ceasing operations. There have been very few details about what to expect, so it’s cool to finally get a sense of what the airline has planned.

ITA has made the decision to exclusively fly Airbus aircraft. The airline has ordered A330neos, A320neos, and A220s directly from Airbus, with deliveries expected as of late in the first quarter of 2022. Then the airline will also lease dozens of planes, including A350s, along with other narrow body aircraft.

What do you make of ITA’s fleet plans?

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  1. Alan B

    Good riddance to the Alitalia 772s. I still have PTSD from the claustrophobia of 10 hours in that awful economy cabin. Of course, if they re-hire the same surly cabin crews, then it will still be an unpleasant flight. And don't get me started on the food…

  2. Robert Fahr

    It is still an Italian run airline. Buona fortuna for profitability.

  3. Euro

    It makes sense that they are going to center around Airbus since they used to operate A330-200s and they are going to operate them in the interim. What I don't understand is why Alitalia is purchasing A330neos but then leasing A350s. Why purchase the cheaper option (and then supposedly keep them long term) and then lease and operate a more modern/capable but more expensive option? Are there routes that the neo can't operate?

    As for...

    It makes sense that they are going to center around Airbus since they used to operate A330-200s and they are going to operate them in the interim. What I don't understand is why Alitalia is purchasing A330neos but then leasing A350s. Why purchase the cheaper option (and then supposedly keep them long term) and then lease and operate a more modern/capable but more expensive option? Are there routes that the neo can't operate?

    As for business class product, just keep the current product for the new planes. Not as if it is excruciatingly outdated (maybe the IFE on some planes from what I have heard). Though for some reason they have 2 different premium economy products???

  4. Steven E

    I’m afraid I have to agree - same old Alitalia mentality , unions, crew with some new metal but just maybe a little better ( to start with )

  5. Pierre

    Different lipsticks, same pig. What makes an airline is its staff. Since a growing percentage will gradually come from Alitalia through all sorts of "combinazioni", the same attitude, the same demands and eventually the same unions wil prevail. And if by any chance the same employees were not to be re-hired, the new airline would instantly be sabotaged by complicit civil servants. remember the Qatar Airways tentative.

    ITA is DOD... Dead on Departure, I believe.

    ...

    Different lipsticks, same pig. What makes an airline is its staff. Since a growing percentage will gradually come from Alitalia through all sorts of "combinazioni", the same attitude, the same demands and eventually the same unions wil prevail. And if by any chance the same employees were not to be re-hired, the new airline would instantly be sabotaged by complicit civil servants. remember the Qatar Airways tentative.

    ITA is DOD... Dead on Departure, I believe.

    Still, Buona Fortuna !! but I do not buy it.

  6. Ken

    Bad plan. Too many airplane types which complicates and adds cost to operations. This “new” airlines will struggle financially as Alitalia if this is the best fleet plan they can come up with. All you need is one long haul and one short haul plane type!

    1. ConcordeBoy

      Huh?? That's about the most efficient fleet a full-service airline can have.

      The only thing I'd somewhat question, is the need for heavier A350s; as a 251 tonne A330-900 now has the same range as a 744, and can hit just about any place on earth from Rome nonstop with relative ease, save for Australia/Oceania.

      The "commonality" aspect (that aviation enthusiasts revere to a comical level) does a carrier no good if they net-lose...

      Huh?? That's about the most efficient fleet a full-service airline can have.

      The only thing I'd somewhat question, is the need for heavier A350s; as a 251 tonne A330-900 now has the same range as a 744, and can hit just about any place on earth from Rome nonstop with relative ease, save for Australia/Oceania.

      The "commonality" aspect (that aviation enthusiasts revere to a comical level) does a carrier no good if they net-lose money in operational inefficiency, compared to whatever they save by having common parts/mtx/crewing.

  7. shoeguy

    And who's paying for all these new jets? Italian taxpayers and Italian Government Bond holders? The AZ fleet needs a refresh, but the new ITA needs a sound business plan to match. The company is clubbed at the knees in LIN, it's only relevant hub, has virtually nothing at MXP, which should be the hub, and continues to rely on FCO as a hub, which is not the right move. Buona fortuna!

    1. Eskimo

      Do as the Americans do. Issue a trillion dollar coin to pay for government debt, which is an useless idea.

      They should issue a trillion dollar crypto coin.

Featured Comments Load all 11 comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

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ConcordeBoy

Huh?? That's about the most efficient fleet a full-service airline can have. The only thing I'd somewhat question, is the need for heavier A350s; as a 251 tonne A330-900 now has the same range as a 744, and can hit just about any place on earth from Rome nonstop with relative ease, save for Australia/Oceania. The "commonality" aspect (that aviation enthusiasts revere to a comical level) does a carrier no good if they net-lose money in operational inefficiency, compared to whatever they save by having common parts/mtx/crewing.

Alan B

Good riddance to the Alitalia 772s. I still have PTSD from the claustrophobia of 10 hours in that awful economy cabin. Of course, if they re-hire the same surly cabin crews, then it will still be an unpleasant flight. And don't get me started on the food…

Alexf1

Good question!

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