“ITA Airways will replace Alitalia,” announced its CEO Fabio Lazzerini during the airline’s takeoff Friday morning.
“Profitability represents a huge discontinuity from the past,” he stressed. “Alitalia has a wonderful history but marked by great economic difficulties,”. On the verge of bankruptcy in 2017, Alitalia was placed under public administration. The company’s state has greatly deteriorated further since the Covid-19 crisis hit.
By September, the European Commission had granted the green light for its successor to take off and authorized funding of €1.35 billion. Furthermore, ITA, which is starting out without debts, has been exempted from repaying the state aid received by Alitalia.
First takeoff on Friday 15th.
ITA Airways’ first flight took off on Friday at 06:13 from Milan-Linate to Bari, with 37 passengers on board. “We will show the Italian taxpayers who are our reference shareholders how we are going to use resources responsibly,” Alfredo Altavilla, president of the company, said.
ITA won the Alitalia brand tender on Thursday, paying 90 million euros instead of the 290 million it originally requested. It will keep the logo design, but not the name. Mr. Altavilla argued, “The Alitalia brand must belong to the new national airline of Italy.”
ITA began operations with a fleet of 52 aircraft, including seven wide-body jets, which will be increased by 26 more by 2022. By 2025, ITA will serve 74 destinations. Mr. Altavilla confirmed that ITA had acquired the aviation branch “for one euro”, adding that “this does not mean that this is its value”. As required by Brussels, ground services and maintenance will be sold separately via tenders.
ITA has hired 2,800 people this year, 70% of whom previously worked for Alitalia. In 2022, the aviation sector alone will hire “1,000 more people”. “2025 target is set to 5,750 people”, added the company in a statement.
ITA Airways “was not born to remain alone” and is looking for a partner, said Mr. Altavilla. The goal is to “reach an agreement” with another airline “by the end of 2022”.