ITA Airways: Everything about the new Italian airline

(CNN) – They’ve long dominated the food and fashion worlds, this year they’ve dominated sports, and now they’re aiming for the skies.

The new Italian national airline, ITA Airways, was launched on Friday with the promise to restore pride to its national airline, after Alitalia, the former Italian airline, went bankrupt and went out of business a day longer. early.

Executives unveiled plans for the new network, planes, personnel and livery at a press conference broadcast live from Rome.

The first thing to know: everything will be centopercento in Italian.

The new ITA Airways planes will be sky blue and staff will wear uniforms from top Italian designers.

The interiors and lounges of the airport will be dressed by high-class Italian companies, and even the cars and minibuses used to move around the grounds will be Italian.

“We were born as a new Italian brand and we have chosen to work only with Italian companies,” said Alfredo Altavilla, President of ITA Airways.

Rise high on the sporting triumph

Sky blue livery, complemented by green, red and white tricolor stripes of the Italian flag on the tail and on the engines, is a tribute to the Azzurri, the Italian national sports teams, who wear sky blue stripes (“azzurro”) during competitions.

The Azzurri have, of course, done a phenomenal job this year, with the football team winning the UEFA European Championships and 40 medals at the Tokyo Summer Olympics. Italian Matteo Berrettini was the finalist in the Wimbledon tennis final.

This is, according to Altavilla, the positive energy that the ITA wants to bring to heaven after the failure of Alitalia.

“Today is the first day of a story that has yet to be written,” he said.

“The new branding and the new livery of our aircraft are the symbol of this change, the start of a new adventure.”

In response to CNN’s question about staff uniforms, Marketing Director Giovanni Perosino said that while nothing has been announced yet, the airline is in talks with “a very important Italian brand” about the possibility of them. design.

“We want to give our customers an Italian experience, and when you think of contemporary Italy, it’s rich and complex,” he said.

“Our dream is therefore to partner with companies from various disciplines, from food to aircraft styling, uniforms and lounge furniture. Our vision is to use Italian brands of global importance. is our wish, but we are already talking with big brands. “

In the meantime, they will continue to use Alitalia’s uniforms and livery, although they expect the planes to start repainting in the first few months. Part of the decision is to save money, he said.

Alitalia is no longer

Alfredo Altavilla, President of ITA Airways, at the launch of the airline.

Document / ITA Airways

The news that the company would keep its original ITA Airways name surprised many who thought it would want to keep the Alitalia brand. In documents filed with the US Department of Transportation to apply for permission to fly there, he admitted his intention to acquire the Alitalia brand.

And the day before the airline’s launch, it was announced that it had bought the Alitalia name for 90 million euros ($ 104 million), leading many to speculate that the new airline would be. essentially the old one.

However, Altavilla said there was never any question of branding the airline as Alitalia.

“In my head, it’s always been ITA Airways,” he said.

“But we have always been very clear not only that we want to buy the Alitalia brand, but that we have to do it. Particularly for marketing reasons – the Italian brand could not be owned by anyone other than the carrier. national.”

A more efficient fleet

Alitalia was in debt for years before the pandemic, but Altavilla said the future was bright for the ITA, calling the airline “the right size” in terms of both fleet, personnel and routing.

Its plan is to operate a fleet of new Airbuses, both more efficient and less damaging to the environment.

The first new jets will enter the fleet in early 2022, and by the end of 2025 70% of the fleet will be next-generation aircraft.

It plans to start with 52 and increase to 105 by 2025.

Stimulating smiles

But Altavilla said the biggest difference would be the service on board.

“On your first flight, I hope you will find a smile again,” he said. It was not always obvious from the beleaguered staff of Alitalia, but ITA has found a new way to reinvigorate workers: each employee will have a part of their salary tied not only to the profits of the company, but also to customer satisfaction.

“It aligns the interests of staff with those of clients,” he said.

ITA already has a loyalty program, Volare, and is considering joining one of the main alliances – although Altavilla is not fired from the one that has been favored, saying all offers are evaluated.

No more “battery chicken farms”

Alitalia closed its doors on October 14 after years of financial difficulties.

Alitalia closed its doors on October 14 after years of financial difficulties.

Alberto Pizzoli / AFP / Getty Images

Starting an airline during a pandemic is no small feat, especially with the sad history that preceded it. The ITA unveiled an advertisement for the Italian public, telling them that things that end badly – whether in love, sports or aviation – shouldn’t stop people from trying again.

Altavilla says that while the airline will enter an airspace already crowded with low-cost carriers, it wasn’t worried about the competition. “We run different companies. I pilot people and they pilot battery chicken farms,” he said.

He signaled that he would fight against subsidies paid by regional authorities to attract low-cost airlines to their airports.

“All I’m saying is I want a level playing field – I don’t want to run a race starting three minutes after the others.”

And that’s good news for Americans looking for a little bit of dolce vita in the sky. The ITA is focusing on the North American market, said Emiliana Limosano, in charge of the commercial side, after deciding to take off as soon as possible after the pandemic. Flights from Rome to New York begin Nov. 4.

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