Our national airline was in the past a giant of global air transport, not so much in numbers but in the prestige it has built and maintained over its long and splendid life, before its inevitable decline. The service on board with the legendary cuisine of the first class, the excellent training of the pilots rightly considered among the best globally (a fact confirmed by a few serious accidents), all these elements made Alitalia a point of reference.
But alongside all this, it must be said that our former national airline has always been a company too close to politics, which has conditioned its management, lacking in the last twenty years an ability to grasp changes and face new scenarios. of air transport, especially with the advent of low cost airlines.
A bit of history
Founded on September 16, 1946, Alitalia only took off its first plane on May 5, 1947, on the Turin – Rome – Catania route. Two months after the first international flight from Rome to Oslo. Then in March 1948 the intercontinental line was inaugurated, to reach from Milan, with a 36 hour journey, Buenos Aires (Argentina), with intermediate stops again in Italy (Rome), Senegal (Dakar) and Brazil (Natal, Rio de Janeiro and San Paolo).
In the years after the Second World War, Alitalia’s development was structurally intertwined with that of the country and the expansion seemed unstoppable, so much so that in 1959, on the eve of the Rome Olympics, the company was already able to transport three million passengers a year. .
And ten years later, in 1969, it was the only airline in Europe to fly only with jet aircraft, becoming the third in Europe by number of flights, behind only Lufthansa and British Airways. Then, sudden and unstoppable the decline, until the last Cagliari – Rome flight of 14 October 2021.
The “Alitalia” brand
The “Alitalia SpA” brand and its internet domain were purchased by ITA-AIRWAYS for 90 million euros, a figure that is far from the 290 million euros of the first auction base, which went deserted. The story of this historic brand, which was created in 1969, is therefore closed, bringing Alitalia into the memory of all Italians. For its realization, the top management of the company turned to a creative agency in San Francisco, London Associates. What came out was a masterpiece. The stylized, tricolor A, which developed from the fletching along the entire fuselage accompanied by the Alitalia writing, was an inimitable ensemble, which many companies envied us. Its inauguration took place with the Boeing 747-100, the famous “Jumbo Jet”.
Many have asked themselves the question: what will become of this brand that ITA-AIRWAYS has bought?
ITA bought the brand of the old company, but the top management of the new company decided not to use the historic tricolor brand on the planes and not to use the previous name. The company will not be called Alitalia but ITA-Airways Spa. The president Alfredo Altavilla and the CEO, Fabio Lazzerini, expressed their ambition to be “the flag carrier of this country”. But a “flag” in which half of the name is in English.
However, to the specific question posed by Sole24h, the president of ITA replied as follows: “The purchase of the brand allows ITA to make an orderly transition to the new aircraft livery, which also means new interiors, new uniforms, replacing the signs at airports. Without the brand, making this replacement quickly would have been much more expensive ». Therefore, by buying the brand, it was avoided to make these interventions immediately and, above all, it was prevented that other possible contenders could acquire it. The new name and the new livery, blue with the logo in white gold, with a small vertical tricolor stripe on the tail, will be put on the new Airbuses that will enter the fleet from March 2022. At that point the fleet will be in two colors.
The new company
ITA (Italy Air Transport) officially started its activities on 18 October 2021, the date on which ENAC, the National Civil Aviation Authority today issued the company the Air Operator Certificate (COA) and the License to Air Transport Exercise. The ENAC document certifies that ITA “possesses the professional capacity and business organization necessary to ensure the operation of its aircraft in safe conditions”. At this point the new airline is authorized not only to fly, but also to sell tickets. According to the documents, the ICAO (UN civil aviation agency) code of the new company is “ITY”.
To obtain the authorization, it was necessary to carry out a test flight from Rome Fiumicino to Sardinia with a return to the Roman airport, under the supervision of ENAC. The flight lasted 54 minutes. The Airbus A330 with the Alitalia livery, but operated on behalf of the new company, took off on Monday 16 August, at 16:24, from Rome Fiumicino airport with the EIEJN code which are also the brands of the aircraft used (EI- EJN). This is because at that date the ITA did not yet have the IATA call sign, so it had to resort to a generic abbreviation.
After having greeted the last flight of the historic national airline on 14 October 2021 at 11:05 pm at Fiumicino airport in Rome, the following day the inaugural flight of the nascent ITA Airways took off from Milan Linate at 6 am. : 20 and landed at Bari airport. The flight was performed by an Airbus A320 with a special “Born in 2021” livery specially designed for the debut.
ITA-Airways will take the place of Alitalia, but it will be a significantly smaller company, with a workforce of 2,800 people, against the 10,5500 employees of the old Alitalia. The new company starts with 44 destinations and 59 routes that will be operated by low environmental impact aircraft. In fact, it was born with the ambitious goal of being one of the greenest companies in Europe. It will be a new story to be written. And if, as foreseen by Europe, it was born in the sign of discontinuity with Alitalia, to start a different adventure, this does not mean denying the past, but evolving it so that it is in step with the times, with a new competitive scenario. , with new customers and needs to satisfy.
ITA is added to the list of other national airlines, which are the following: Ego Airways, Air Dolomiti (Italian subsidiary of the Lufthansa group), Alitalia (Italian Air Company and the regional Cityliner division), Blue Panorama (of the Uvet group) and Neos (of the Alpitour group). Air Italy (the former Meridiana) still appears in the Enac list, but its license has been suspended since 25 August 2020, while Ernest has disappeared and stopped flying in January of last year.