Italy’s new flag carrying airline Italia Trasporto Aereo, or ITA, is approaching takeoff at pace. The airline has today not only added its first aircraft to its fleet, but has also received the green light from ENAC to begin flying. The airline will take over from Alitalia from October 15th.
ITA gets the green light from ENAC
The Italian civil aviation regulator Ente Nazionale Aviazione Civile (ENAC) has granted ITA its air operators’ certificate (AOC) today. Alongside this, it has granted the airline its air traffic operating license, which means the path to beginning operations is now clear.
The green light comes after some months of disputes with the EU over Italy’s efforts to save Alitalia. Despite concerns about the level of support the state has been willing to pour into its flag carrier, it seems that an agreement has been reached, and the airline is now cleared to fly.
ITA will take over where Alitalia leaves off on October 15th. Some Alitalia workers are expected to be hired by the airline for its operations, but it’s not yet certain how many. At present, Alitalia’s workforce is around 11,000 people, 7,000 of whom are on an expensive temporary furlough scheme.
In July, Italy’s industry ministry said it expected the airline to hire up to 2,950 of these workers for the new carrier this year. By 2025, it expected its workforce to blossom to around 5,500 employees. But that’s a long time for those who are not currently working to wait.
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One plane for ITA
According to data from ch-aviation.com, ITA has added its first plane to its fleet today. The carrier now has a single A330-200 registered in its fleet, under the registration number EI-EJN. The aircraft is from Alitalia’s fleet, having been delivered to the carrier on May 29th, 2012.
Details from ch-aviation show that the A330 is configured with 219 economy seats, as well as 17 premium and 20 business class seats. Its last revenue flight was from Tokyo in July, but it has since performed two test flights for ITA, ahead of it securing its operating license.
Eventually, ITA will have a fleet of 52 planes, including seven widebodies for international use. By 2025, it expects to break the 100 aircraft barrier, eyeing a fleet of some 105 aircraft by that point. That’s about the size that the Alitalia fleet was before the COVID crisis, excluding the regional jets at its Cityliner subsidiary. However, it’s a shadow of the former fleet at its peak.
At its height, in around 2004, Alitalia had a huge fleet of over 170 planes. Many of those were from the MD-82 family, but with significant numbers from Airbus and Boeing also. Since then, the MDs have retired, and more Airbus aircraft have arrived. The airline has not taken a new airplane delivery since 2013.
In terms of the planes for ITA, we can expect that its seven widebodies will all come from the pool of 10 A330-200s currently in Alitalia’s fleet. The narrowbodies will almost certainly all be A320 family jets and could see ITA an Airbus-only operator going forward.
Are you excited to see Italy’s new flag carrier take off?