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

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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TonytTDK

Alitalia is a basket case.
Alitalia has been a basket case for almost 20 years.
The EU has let the Italian governments ‘never-to-be-repaid’ ‘loans’ slide’ for a decade or more, but there will soon be a reckoning.
The unions will face reality, or the whole thing will close.
Either way, their will be a lot of pain ahead for the operational staff.

Chuck

It’s time for these solo flag carriers to start looking for dance partners.
Look at the Lufthansa group (Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian, Brussels);
BA and Iberia;
KLM & AirFrance.
SAS covers all of Scandinavia,
and AirBaltic covers the Baltic states.

The writing is on the wall, but the unions refuse to acknowledge.

crik

As of today northern Italy is the new hotspot of coronavirus outside China. Depending on how this develops, it could destroy very quickly the recent small steps made by Alitalia.

Steven W

The fact that they let these routes operate as this level of loss for so long illustrates the previous poor management of Alitalia. The good news is that they got the unions to agree to these cancellations and are now implementing them. Coupled with the return of the planes this appears to make good business sense, something which has been very scarce at this airline for many years. National pride, government interference and belligerent unions do not make for successful airlines.

Joseph Yanke

Until Alitalia does better, the Italian government should keep financing it in part the way the United States government does with Amtrack.
And Alitalia should also lower its fares a little so it can attract more passengers.

Martyn

Originally founded in 1946 and has made a profit in only 1 year in the 90's they have not lost millions it's in Billions. I doubt anyone can make it profitable it will fail this year and a new Alitalia will emerge (same company no debts) and the cycle will begin again.

Armando Luca Carnevale

Alitalia pays prices above the market average to lease the planes of its fleet. The cancellation of the unprofitable routes to Santiago and Seoul was an opportunity to return the planes and improve the accounts. In the meantime, new profitable routes for the United States will be introduced or increased in the coming months. Alitalia in May will see the separation of the bad company and the creation of a new company without debt, which will be nationalized or sold. The new owners will be able to start again with a long-range strategy, modernizing and increasing the fleet. The new starting point will be a company with no debts, an optimized route network compared to the past, a level of punctuality among the highest in the world, the excellence of on-board services certified by the numerous awards won and a demand for direct flights to Italy, business and leisure, growing and not currently satisfied.

Sal S.

I believe it’s the best strategy to staying alive. Money saved from eliminating these unprofitable routes and returning leased aircraft, is money earned to offset their financial losses. If new management keeps thinking this way, it just might survive or be appealing to a bailout buyer.

Kees

It is stupid that Brussels did not step in, it is bust since 2017 and flying with state aid. Criminal.

Noah Bowie

All Alitalia got from Etihad was new uniforms. It wasn’t surprising when they went under as putting on a different tie doesn’t suddenly make a business profitable. Unless you’re selling ties.

john c wellon

During the 1960s I worked at Gander Newfoudfland International Aeradio where Alitalia passed through our airspace on a daily basis , sometimes they would land at Gander for fuel . They were a wonderful airline , well respected and flew mostly modern DC7C aircraft that held close to 100 sob. enroute to New York. At that time they were one of the best in the world !

Domenico

I would like to know if Alitalia is still flying f ru om Chicago ill ohare to parlemo Sicily in the year 2020 because we vacation every year and are looking for tickets. Thank you,Domenico & Giovanna Grasso.

MEL S GAGLIARDO

SHAMEFUL.THE PRIDE OF ITALIAN
PEOPLE, SUCH AS MYSELF GOES DOWN
THE TOILET BECAUSE ALITALIA
EMPLOYEEYS ARE MORE CONCERNED
ABOUT STUPID UNIFORMS THAN CUSTOMER SERVICE*** WHICH IS THE
KEY TO A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS; THAT
THRIVES & IS HEALTHY. IF BRITISH
AIRWAYS, LUTHANSA, & AIR FRANCE
CAN DO IT?? WHY, FOR GODSAKES
CAN’T THE ITALIANS!!??!!?? THE
MONEY & KNOW HOW ARE THERE. SO
WHAT IS THE FREAKEN EXCUSE??? I’VE
BEEN FOLLOWING THEM WITH MUCH
PRIDE EVER SINCE I WAS LITTLE &
DOING STILL!!. IT IS EMBARRASING
TO SAY THE LEAST & UNEXCUSABLE.
WHERE IS YOUR PRIDE MY FELLOW
ITALIANS!!??!!

Bert

Do we know when the B777-300ER will be returned? I don’t see any details about when it will be returned to the owner…was hoping someone might know, as I have reservations on that aircraft later this year!

On a related note…I also read that they are returning 4 A320s and 2 A321s, as well. Hopefully they can all rejoin the fleet at some point in the future again.

Paolo

Have a direct service from Rome to Perth Australia (PER) to compete with QANTAS with a direct service to Europe from Australia, using Fiumicino (FCO) as a European hub.

Ahmed

Given the scope of the heavy competition for hub & spoke traffic,
Alitalia many consider operating point to point by acquiring Narrow aircrafts like A320 or A220.

Andrew Heenan

It’s crazy the Italian taxpayer is continually subsidizing this dying airline. But let’s face it, it isn’t the only one – there are still dozens of ‘legacy’ airlines all over the world, s*****g the lifeblood out of taxpayers while they compete inefficiently with upstart more effective competitors.

Rod Tukker

Alitalia should take lead from LOT Polish and start India operations. India-Europe-USA is one of the premium market with MEA airlines upping the prices in the recent years. LOT is enjoying the profits already and pushing forward with 7 weekly to Delhi and starting Mumbai soon. The trick is to run more business class and price them on par with flex economy of MEA airlines. Management of most airlines are just sheep like attitude and follow some big airlines instead of inventing better strategies.

Heri Bahati

Airline business is almost as complicated as Finance and Banking. If done properly has the most promised return. But when things got rotten has much uncertainty and fragility.
The Middle East carriers, despite of breaching Fair competition are at competitive edge. Due to their governments subsidies on fuels and Tax cuts.

Heri Bahati

Airline business is almost as complicated as Finance and Banking. If done properly has the most promised return. But when things got rotten has much uncertainty and fragility.
The Middle East carriers, despite of breaching Fair competition are at competitive edge. Due to their governments subsidies on fuels and Tax cuts.

Ricardo

It’s a shame . It was a great service direct to Rome.

Frank

I have switched from Alitalia to Delta on my flights from NYC to ITALY. Why? Poor service. Nasty attendants. Dirty aircraft. Poor food. These area can all be addressed.