Alitalia To Offload Boeing 777-300ER And Airbus A330s Amid Route Cuts

Since officially becoming bankrupt in 2017, Alitalia has managed to somehow put up a fight over the last three years. In another attempt to keep flying, the Italian flag carrier will give up a Boeing 777 and two Airbus A330s. Meanwhile, on Thursday, it confirmed that it will cut routes to Santiago and Seoul.

Alitalia Boeing 777
A Boeing 777 is one of three aircraft being let go by Alitalia. Photo: Alitalia

Newly-appointed administrator Giuseppe Leogrande and general manager Giancarlo Zeni met with the airline’s unions to discuss plans for the year. As a result, these decisions have been made to help make Alitalia operate more efficiently.

According to Corriere, Alitalia loses around €76,000 ($82,400) per day flying to the capitals of Chile and South Korea from its main hub in Rome. Therefore, the airline’s management has decided to cut these long-distance services from its operations. 

Long-haul cuts

On the back of the changes, the operator is looking to save even more cash by cutting some of the long-haul aircraft in its holdings.

Alitalia’s only 777-300ER will be returned to its lessor this year. Currently, Alitalia pays $675,000 a month for this widebody. The carrier holds 13 B777s in its fleet but only one of this particular type.

According to Planespotters, registration EI-WLA joined the fleet in September 2017. It was given the moniker of Roma, the same name as the hub that the airline operates out of.

Alitalia will also save US$1 million a month by giving up two of its Airbus A330s that are on lease. Etihad Airways will pocket the fees paid by the carrier for these two planes that are now being returned. However, following the changes, Alitalia will still hold 12 of the aircraft type within its fleet.

An Alitalia Airbus A330
Two Airbus A330 aircraft will no longer be operated by the Italian airline. Photo: Eric Salard via Flickr

Cost-saving measures

The route to Santiago is the most distant service conducted by Alitalia in its network. Altogether, the 12,000 km flight hasn’t offered the financial results that the firm would have hoped for.

Under 120,000 passengers flew on this route in the entirety of 2018, each paying €600 ($650) on average. The 777-200ER-operated flight made a net loss of around €8 million ($8.6 million). This loss carried on in 2019.

Additionally, the Seoul route gave negative figures for the airline. The 9,000 km flight saw 80,000 fliers onboard during 2018, each paying €450 ($488) on average. This A330 service accounted for a €12.7 million ($13.8 million) loss in 2018, with a similar figure reported in the following year.

Tough competition from Korean carriers Korean Air and Asiana helped contribute to the dire result. Altogether the airline lost over €47 million ($51 million) between 2018 and 2019 on flights to the two cities.

Alitalia B777
It has been a tough three years for Alitalia. Photo: Alitalia

Necessary steps

Despite still failing to find a buyer, the airline’s administrators will be feeling hopeful following slightly improved results achieved last year. If the airline makes well-planned changes such as these cuts, it could continue to make small steps in its mission to get out of its long-term rut.

Simple Flying reached out to Alitalia for comment on its cuts but did not hear back before publication. We will update the article with any further announcements.

What are your thoughts on Alitalia’s aircraft and route changes? Let us know what you think of the situation in the comment section.