ITA Airways is going all-Airbus. Italy’s new national airline has inherited a fleet of aging A319s, A320s, and A330s from its predecessor Alitalia. However, starting next year, it will also be operating brand new aircraft. Deliveries of 59 new jets will commence in the first quarter of 2022 and include 22 A220s and 17 A330neos.
All Airbus handover
Italy revealed the bright new livery of its forthcoming flag carrier this weekend. ITA Airways will cross the heavens to and fro in a fittingly sky-blue design, paying homage to gli Azzurri. Naturally, the green, white, and red tricolore will also feature prominently. But now that we know what the new airline’s brand will look like, what planes will it fly?
The rebooted Italian national airline project will keep a little over half the fleet of its predecessor Alitalia. The struggling iconic brand came to an end – after many twists, turns, and go-arounds – on October 15th, the same day that ITA Airways commenced operations.
Alitalia had 95 jets in its fleet up until the end, with an average age of 15.5 years. Meanwhile, ITA is starting out with 52 planes, averaging 14.4 years. The former flew ten Boeing 777s and 15 Embraer regional aircraft. However, ITA will have an all-Airbus fleet, consisting at the moment of 18 A319-100s, 27 A320-200s, and seven A330-200s.
Thirty-four out of the 52 jets in ITA’s fleet are leased from a long list of lessors, including Aergo Capital, ALC, Voyager, and AerCap. The airline owns 12 A319s and six A320s outright. The youngest of the fleet is an A319 at 8.8 years of age, while the oldest is a distinguished A320 at 22.8 years. Currently, as many as 17 of the carrier’s aircraft are still listed as parked.
MoU with Airbus for 28 jets
Italy does not intend to reconquer the skies with just an aging fleet of jets, however. The airline has signed an MoU with Airbus for the purchase of 28 new aircraft, with deliveries to start taking place in the first quarter of next year. The order includes 10 Airbus A330neos, 11 A320neo family aircraft, and seven A220s.
“ITA has done a thorough clean sheet aircraft evaluation and has chosen Airbus across all segments. This is very gratifying and a testimony of the great value of the Airbus product range. It sets a benchmark in driving the decarbonization and efficiency agenda. (…) Today we are proud and grateful to be alongside ITA in building its future together. Grazie Mille!” said Christian Scherer, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer and Head of Airbus International, in a statement.
Leasing another 31 through ALC
Furthermore, ITA has signed a leasing agreement with ALC for 31 new aircraft from the lessor’s orderbook with Airbus. This includes 15 A220s, two A320neos, nine A321neos, and five A330-900s.
“Air Lease Corporation is pleased and proud to be the launch Lessor for ITA to supply the new airline 31 new Airbus jet aircraft, including the most modern A220 and A320/321neo family jets, as well the latest environmentally friendly widebody aircraft on long-term operating leases from ALC’s orderbook,” Steven F. Udvar-Házy, Executive Chairman of Air Lease Corporation, said in a statement earlier this month.
For the immediate future, however, it is not only the fleet that remains a heritage from Alitalia. While reportedly in talks with, as quoted by CNN, a ‘very important Italian brand’ over the new crew uniforms, for now, ITA has borrowed them from its predecessor.
With a fleet of brand-new Airbus aircraft coming up, the Italian flag carrier travel experience is most certainly getting an upgrade. Let us hope that the relaunch of the national airline will be as successful as the rebirth and rejuvenation of Italy’s national football team.
What do you think of ITA’s fleet plans? Leave a comment below and let us know.