Alitalia to Close, ITA to Take Over as Italy’s Flag Carrier
Alitalia is shuttering operations and will no longer sell
tickets for flights taking place after Oct. 15. All previously scheduled
flights after that date have been canceled, and ticketholders will be given the
option of receiving a full refunded or rebooking to the same destination for an
earlier date, the company said.
The end of Alitalia after 75 years as Italy’s national flag
carrier was widely expected after it was announced last month that new
state-owned airline Italia Transporto Aereo would begin operations on Oct. 15. ITA
initially will operate a fleet of 52 planes—seven wide-body and 45 narrow-body
aircraft—with plans to add more planes later this year. Operating from home bases
in Milan and Rome, the newly launched carrier will offer routes to 45 destinations,
including Paris, London, Amsterdam, Brussels, Frankfurt and Geneva. Initial
U.S. destination will be New York, Boston and Miami, with service to Washington
and Los Angeles plotted for summer 2022.
After being plagued by financial difficulties for years,
Alitalia entered bankruptcy proceedings in 2017 and courted
prospective buyers including Delta,
and EasyJet. Ultimately however, the company was unable to find a suitor and
the Italian government took full
control of the carrier in 2020 as the Covid-19 pandemic hit Italy and
brought demand for air travel to a near standstill.
News of Alitalia’s impending closure comes on the same day
another financially troubled flag carriers, South African Airways, announced it
service next month after being grounded for nearly a year and a half.
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