It’s official: Alitalia is shutting down. While the end of the airline has been clear for months now, the carrier has officially announced that it will stop flying from 14th October. All flights beyond this date are canceled, and passengers may request a refund or travel before the 14th. From the 15th of October, ITA will become the new Italian flag carrier, kicking off a new era for Italian aviation.
As the anticipation for ITA builds up, Alitalia has been planning its orderly closure. Yesterday, the Italian flag carrier announced that the end is near. Effective from today, 25th August, Alitalia won’t sell tickets for flights from 15th October, limiting advance sales. This effectively means that the airline will cease to fly after this date.
Passengers that are booked to fly on the 15th or later have two choices. They may either rebook their flights to fly before 14th October or can request a full refund. Since ITA is a wholly different airline with its own AOC, there won’t be any rebookings available.
Attempting to book tickets on the website beyond the October deadline throws up a “no flights available” error message. After years of doubts over the carrier’s future, the end is finally here.
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The date of Alitalia’s closure coincides with the arrival of ITA, which will make its first flight on 15th October. The heavily-discussed replacement carrier received its Air Operators Certificate (AOC) last week, clearing the last hurdle before starting operations. Now, we officially have a date.
The airline has also received its first A330-200, the first of 52 jets destined for the airline. This aircraft, EI-EJN, is a former Alitalia aircraft that ITA has purchased and used for its certification procedure. It will soon be repainted into a new livery featuring the Italian flag.
The carrier isn’t running low on funds either. After protracted negotiations with the EU Competition Commission, ITA has secured €700 million ($822.5mn) in funding in late July and will receive more until 2025. However, this has come at a cost. ITA will not inherit all of Alitalia’s slots at Rome and Milan, according to Reuters. The new airline will only receive 43% of the former carrier’s slots at Fiumicino and 85% at Linate Airport.
In the works
Since July, ITA has been slowly purchasing or leasing Alitalia assets to start its own operations. This has seen Alitalia-liveried A320s featuring an ITA sticker to mark the new carrier’s takeover. A full integration of brands will take years and cost millions, which means ITA may retain much of Alitalia’s flavor in the early days.
However, ITA plans to remain a lot smaller at launch, shedding much of its long-haul fleet and, sadly, workforce. For now, all eyes are on October 15th as ITA kicks off operations.
What do you think about Alitalia’s closure? Have you ever flown with them? Let us know in the comments!