Italy’s new flag carrier ITA is all set to receive its first Airbus A350-900 next summer. The airline is reportedly set to take its largest widebody in June, just in time for the booming summer rush.
According to Italiavola, ITA CEO Fabio Lazzerini has revealed the delivery timeline for the airline’s largest aircraft in an interview with Il Messaggero. The newly formed Italian airline will pick up the keys to its first A350-900 in June 2022, just seven months from now and less than a year since the original order with Airbus.
The arrival of A350 will allow for new long-haul routes by ITA, including Rome to Buenos Aries. With the 777s retired, the airline will now rely solely on Airbus’ offerings to fill the gaps in its long-haul network.
The A350 will also provide a much-needed capacity boost ahead. While nothing is certain yet, airlines are likely to see a bustling summer season next year, with millions of passengers returning to the skies after over two years on the ground. This will be an important time for ITA, as it looks to reinvent Italian aviation.
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However, it’s only the A350 that’s making its way to ITA next year. In terms of the fleet, the airline plans to add 50% more aircraft, or roughly another 25 planes. This will be a mix of A220s, A320s, and A330neos, the other types of aircraft on order by ITA. This will be matched by wide-scale staff hirings, also to the tune of 50% of current capacity.
All of this will allow the airline to offer 150% new tickets across its network and generate a much greater volume of sales. Overall, next year will be ITA’s standout one, with the airline hoping to use the rebound of travel as its breakthrough introduction.
It’s been just over a month (October 15th) since Alitalia’s closed its doors and ITA took over. Since then, the airline has flown 600,000 passengers across Italy and the globe. While numbers have been affected by travel restrictions, it is nonetheless a strong start for the airline.
To boost numbers, the carrier is planning to increase its codeshares partners from 19 to 30 by the end of the year, ensuring it can grab as many passengers are possible. Membership to SkyTeam means the airline already has a total of 157 partners in varying capacities.
For now, ITA is preparing for another bumpy winter season. Much of Europe is struggling with a new wave of COVID-19, imperiling the winter travel for a second time. For now, the airline will be focusing on laying out capacity to key markets and preparing for the holiday season, which will see a bump in numbers.
What do you think about ITA’s A350 plans? Let us know in the comments!