A Short Story: The History And Making Of Italy’s ITA

ITA Airways, whose name stands for Italia Trasporto Aereo, has served as Italy’s flag carrier for almost two months. Following in the footsteps of former national airline Alitalia, ITA is aiming to keep Italy connected without enduring its predecessor’s struggles. With an all-Airbus fleet serving short and long-haul routes, it has established several codeshares.

ITA commenced operations on October 15th, 2021. Photo: Getty Images

The ITA Airways story began just over a year ago, in October 2020. This was when the Italian government permitted struggling flag carrier Alitalia to restructure under the new ITA brand. It commenced operations this October, using aircraft inherited from its predecessor. Going forward, it has also placed orders for brand new Airbus jets for its growing fleet.

A product of Alitalia’s struggles

Uncertainty characterized the final few years of former flag carrier Alitalia’s existence, particularly amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. It entered administration in 2017 after Etihad withdrew its support for the airline, resulting in it being put on sale. After no buyer could be found for almost three years, the Italian government stepped in to take ownership.

It did so despite having previously ruled out renationalizing Alitalia, which had already been state-owned until 2009. However, it felt it necessary to do so due to the threat that COVID-19 posed to the struggling airline. Having taken ownership of Alitalia in March 2020, it was just seven months before the government permitted it to restructure as ITA.

ITA’s predecessor Alitalia had been in existence since 1946. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

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Taking to the skies

Soon after ITA came into existence as a brand, reports emerged that it would acquire several of Alitalia’s assets. This allowed it to inherit some of its routes and aircraft when the time came to replace the former national airline. Using a consolidated fleet consisting entirely of Airbus jets, ITA Airways eventually commenced operations on October 15th, 2021.

Since then, the new airline has taken on several aspects of Alitalia’s operations, including its membership in the SkyTeam alliance. ITA also replaced Alitalia as the official airline of the Pope. It undertook its first duty in this regard earlier this month, when it flew Pope Francis to Larnaca, Cyprus. Further afield, it has already begun operating long-haul flights.

ITA Airbus order
ITA has consistently demonstrated a strong commitment to Airbus designs. Photo: Airbus

Already showing signs of expansion

In addition to its renewed SkyTeam membership, ITA also hasn’t wasted any time when it comes to establishing partnerships with individual airlines. Indeed, it has already drawn up codeshares with the likes of Air Malta, KLM, and, most recently, Etihad Airways. Last month, ITA and Delta Air Lines also applied for authorization to establish a codeshare agreement.

Another area in which ITA is looking to make fast and significant growth is in terms of its fleet. In addition to the planes it inherited from Alitalia, it will also have new jets at its disposal, after firming up an order for 28 next-generation Airbus jets from the A220, A320neo, and A330neo families. The carrier will also begin leasing Airbus A350s in June 2022.

How do you rate ITA’s first couple of months in the skies? Have you flown with the new Italian flag carrier yet? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments!

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