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Monday 18 October 2021

Italy's new airline takes to the skies

Italy’s new national airline, ITA Airways, has taken to the skies over the weekend, unveiling its new brand and logo as it replaces the failed Alitalia.

ITA, or Italy Air Transport, replaces bankrupt flag carrier Alitalia, which landed its final flights late last week after 74 years. 

The much-smaller ITA Airways is hiring only around a quarter of Alitalia’s more than 10,000 former  employees although negotiations with unions are ongoing, Travel Mole reported.

ITA paid 90 million (around $AU140 million) for the rights to the Alitalia brand but has its own website and a new frequent flier program, called Volare (“Fly”).

“Discontinuity doesn’t mean denying the past, but evolving to keep up with the times,” ITA President Alfredo Altavilla said in a statement.

During a conference launching the airline, Altavilla insisted that the greatly reduced size of ITA - its slimmer fleet, workforce and destinations - will make it a viable carrier that can compete with low-cost airlines while offering better service, connections and value.

“ITA Airways is being born right-sized, in the optimal dimensions both in terms of the size of its fleet and its destinations,” he said. “We don’t carry with us the negative inheritance of being too big that conflict with the economic reality.”

ITA is flying to 44 destinations and aims to increase that number to 74 in four years.

Among its routes, the company plans to operate flights to New York from Milan and Rome, and to Tokyo, Boston and Miami from Rome. 

European destinations from Rome and Milan’s Linate airport will also include Paris, London, Amsterdam, Brussels, Geneva and Frankfurt, Germany. 

Routes to South America and Los Angeles are planned. For now, the new blue Airbus aircraft pictured above exists only in advertisements, with Alitalia’s old white fleet still flying. 

The company launched with 2,800 employees - 70% of them from Alitalia - and said it expects to increase the size of its workforce to 5,750 by 2025.

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