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Monday, January 30, 2023

Italy’s New Flag Carrier ITA Unveils Order of 50+ Airbus Aircraft

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Italy’s current flag carrier, Alitalia, is expected to cease operations on October 15 owing to bankruptcy proceedings, ushering in a new era of civil aviation in the country. Italia Trasporto Aereo (ITA) will take over the carrier’s place, with a clean balance sheet, 52 aircraft from its predecessor, and 2800 workers.

ITA announced a fleet expansion plan for 105 aircraft by 2025, with 81 “new-generation” aircraft in its fleet, as part of a press release at the time of the announcement.

It announced a new order for 28 of these new-generation aircraft on Thursday, signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Airbus for seven Airbus A220s, eleven Airbus A320neo family aircraft, and ten Airbus A330neos.

ITA also intends to lease 31 aircraft from Air Lease Corporation, comprising 15 Airbus A220s, two A320neos, nine A321neos, and five A330-900neos.

Over the duration of its fleet plan, the Rome-based airline will lease a total of 56 new Airbus aircraft, collaborating with six leasing businesses — half of the leasing corporations with whom Alitalia collaborated. Thirteen long-haul aircraft, including the Airbus A350-900, and 43 short and medium-haul aircraft are planned to be leased.

It is unknown which aircraft will be delivered first to the carrier or what cabin will be featured inside. ITA expects to receive its first “new-generation” aircraft in the first quarter of 2022, as planned.

The Italian flag carrier expects 70 percent of its fleet to be made up of new-generation aircraft by 2025, a decline from its initial forecast of 81 new-generation aircraft.

Based on its present fleet composition, ITA will have a majority Airbus fleet for its October 15 launch, with 45 narrowbody aircraft and seven widebody aircraft. At the time of writing, the flag carrier had two aircraft registered to its name, an Airbus A320-200 and an Airbus A330-200, according to Planespotters.net.

Alitalia’s prior fleet allowed for the employment of Embraer E175s and E195s for its CityLiner subsidiary, which was utilized for short-haul flights between Milan and Rome. Furthermore, Alitalia retained a pre-COVID sub-fleet of one Boeing 777-300ER and eleven Boeing 777-200ERs for international operations.

Alfredo Altavilla, ITA’s Executive Chairman, expressed his delight with the agreement, saying, “The strategic partnership with Airbus and ALC is critical for ITA to jumpstart our Business Plan aimed at achieving our targets of a new environmentally-friendly fleet with significantly lower operating and leasing costs.” I’d like to express my gratitude to Christian Scherer, CCO of Airbus, and Steven F. Udvar-Házy, Executive Chairman of Air Lease Corporation, for their faith in the future of our brand-new airline.”

According to the original plan, Italia Trasporto Aereo’s aircraft flood will power a network development from 45 destinations and 61 routes to 74 destinations and 81 routes by 2025. ITA was recently granted permission to fly to the United States, allowing it to reach Boston, New York, and Miami during the IATA winter season of 2021-2022, in addition to scheduled service to Tokyo’s Haneda Airport. Furthermore, by the summer of 2022, ITA intends to more than double its long-haul offering, adding flights to Buenos Aires, Los Angeles, Rio de Janeiro, and Washington, D.C.

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