As Alitalia restructures for the future, more details are emerging about the new carrier. The new Alitalia will reportedly reduce its fleet size and employee count by more than 50%, lower than previous estimates. Intercontinental routes will be the most affected by these changes, with only six widebody aircraft remaining in the fleet. The airline would also be renamed under this new plan.
Alitalia had well-documented financial issues well before the pandemic hit the carrier. As Italy became one of the first European nations hit with the virus, it became clear Alitalia could not survive. In response, the Italian government nationalized the airline and began drawing up plans for its future.
Alitalia has been flying many of its previous services since March, including many intercontinental and European routes, but a large part of its fleet remains on the ground. According to data from Planespotters.net, 42 out of the airline’s 104 planes are on the ground, which includes 10 A330s and 17 A320s.
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According to a report from Reuters, the new Alitalia will be drastically scaled back. Under the turnaround plan, Alitalia would be renamed ITA (Italia Trasporto Aereo) and fly far fewer routes than before. Fleet size would drop from 104 to 50, with only six widebodies remaining. While the exact fleet remains unknown, we can expect the A320 family to remain as the primary aircraft in the fleet.
The number of employees would also fall to just 5,000 staff, down from 11,000 before the pandemic. Alitalia had previously furloughed over 6,000 employees and this change could mean that many will not return to the carrier.
The plan stated that “The long-haul planes will be reduced from 26 to six, with a huge fall in the capacity of intercontinental flights, about 70%.” This means we could see Alitalia’s long-haul footprint shrink dramatically, with non-profitable routes dropped immediately. Only key routes such as New York-Rome are likely to survive this change.
Change coming soon
Reuters also reports that these changes could happen fairly quickly. The new board of ITA is set to meet tomorrow to approve the changes and send the plan for review to the government and EU on Monday. Assuming there aren’t any drastic changes to be negotiated, we could see the new airline emerge in the first half of 2021.
While there will be substantial changes to the airline soon, some things will remain the same. For starters, ITA/Alitalia 2.0 will remain a full-service carrier in the future, ensuring service standards remain the same. Passengers flying also won’t notice much difference (minus a new livery) since most of the planes will be inherited from Alitalia.
Italy has been a notoriously difficult market for airlines, with Air Italy also collapsing in February. While the changes are certainly dramatic, it could be the jump the airline needs to create a profitable future.
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