One of Europe’s most well-known airlines is prepared to go out of business. Alitalia’s renowned ‘A’ wing-shaped emblem in the colors of the Italian flag will vanish from the skies after 75 years. The announcement comes as no surprise given that Alitalia has been on life support for some years and has been bankrupt since 2017. The Covid epidemic appears to have been the final straw.
After years of financial troubles, Alitalia filed for bankruptcy in 2017 and courted possible purchasers such as Delta, Lufthansa, and EasyJet. However, the firm was unable to find a buyer, and the Italian government assumed complete control of the carrier in 2020, when the Covid-19 epidemic struck Italy, bringing demand for air travel to a halt.
It marks the end of an illustrious career for Italy’s national airline. Aerolinee Italiane Internazionali (Italian International Airlines), or Alitalia as it became known, was founded in 1946 and experienced a golden age of flying in the 1950s and 1960s, notably during the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome.
The glory days, however, could not be continued, and Alitalia battled from one crisis to the next during the next decades. Time has now run out, and the airline will stop operations on October 15, to be replaced by ITA.
Italia Trasporto Aereo, or Italy Air Transport, is the abbreviation for Italia Trasporto Aereo. However, it is unknown what name or emblem would appear on the new airline’s planes. There will be public bidding for the brand “Alitalia,” which ITA has stated it would compete for, thus there is a chance the brand may survive in some form.
ITA will initially operate a fleet of 52 jets, including seven wide-body planes and 45 narrow-body planes, with plans to add further planes later this year. The newly launched carrier will fly to 45 cities, including Paris, London, Amsterdam, Brussels, Frankfurt, and Geneva, from bases in Milan and Rome. The initial US destinations will be New York, Boston, and Miami, with service to Washington and Los Angeles scheduled for the summer of 2022.