ITA Airways Firms Up Order For 28 Airbus Aircraft

Italy’s newest airline, ITA, has today firmed up an order with Airbus for 28 new aircraft. The order consists of seven Airbus A220s, 11 A320neos and 10 A330neos. This follows a memorandum of understanding announced at the end of September. As well as the listed aircraft for purchase, ITA will lease A350s to complement its fleet.

ITA Airbus order
ITA has firmed up an order for 28 new technology aircraft for its future fleet. Photo: Airbus

Neo aircraft for the new airline

ITA Airways announced back in September that it planned to acquire a host of new Airbus aircraft for its fleet renewal. Today, that plan was solidified, with the signing of a firm order with Airbus for 28 aircraft in total. The airline clearly plans to remain all-Airbus, with a fleet than spans from regional jets up to the planemaker’s biggest widebody.

Specifically, ITA has signed for seven Airbus A220s, 11 A320neos and 10 A330neos. This is precisely what was contained in the MoU back in September. These new aircraft will complement the airline’s existing fleet of 52 Airbus aircraft, all inherited from its predecessor Alitalia.

Alfredo Altavilla, Executive President of ITA Airways, commented on the deal,

“Today the strategic partnership with Airbus takes an important step forward with the finalisation of the order we announced last September. In addition to this agreement, possibilities for further collaboration have emerged, in particular regarding technological developments in the aviation sector and digitalisation, where Airbus is the market leader. All this is part of the actions to achieve our environmental sustainability objectives.”

ITA Airbus order
ITA Airways Executive President, Alfredo Altavilla, and Airbus Chief Commercial Officer and Head of Airbus International, Christian Scherer, firmed up the deal today. Photo: Airbus

The airline currently flies 18 A319s, 27 A320ceos and seven A330s. While the airline has made noises about fleet renewal in the past, the release from Airbus states that, “These new Airbus aircraft will expand the initial ITA Airways fleet with a new generation aircraft with better environmental performance.” This suggests that this purchase is more about fleet building at present than it is about replacing old with new.

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All Airbus for the Italian flag carrier

ITA’s predecessor Alitalia has had various flirtations with Boeing in the past, having operated everything from the 707 to the iconic Queen of the Skies, the 747. Historically, it also operated a whole host of older aircraft and regional options, but at the point of its closure, it was very Airbus heavy.

When Alitalia took its last flights, it had to its name 38 A319s, 19 A320 ceos and five aging A321s. 11 A330s provided some of the widebody capacity, but its long-haul fleet had a strong presence from the 777. A single 777-300ER was accompanied by 11 777-200ERs. Clearly, ITA is not planning to take on any of these.

Alitalia 777
Alitalia’s 777 will not be going to the new airline. Photo: Alitalia

In addition to the order firmed up today, ITA has recently concluded an agreement with Air Lease Corp to lease 13 additional aircraft. As well as some additional short and medium-haul jets, the ALC deal includes a number of A350-900s – although precise numbers have not yet been revealed.

It’s a big win for Airbus to have a full-service European flag carrier wholly devoted to its product line. Christian Scherer, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer and Head of Airbus International, noted,

“We are very proud to partner with ITA Airways in building its long-term future with the most efficient, latest technology Airbus aircraft. This agreement supports ITA Airways business objectives to develop its network in Europe and internationally in the most sustainable way.”

No details have yet been disclosed on when these new aircraft will begin delivering.