Alitalia - The flag carrier and national airline of Italy

Alitalia - The flag carrier and national airline of Italy

Alitalia Compagnia Aerea Italiana S.p.A. (English: Alitalia — Italian Air Company), operating as Alitalia, is the flag carrier and national airline of Italy, which took over the name, the landing rights, many planes and some other assets from the liquidation process of the old Alitalia — Linee Aeree Italiane and the entire Air One. The company has its head office in Fiumicino, Italy. Its main hub is Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport, Rome. Alitalia is Italy's biggest airline, and the world's 19th. The name "Alitalia" is an Italian portmanteau of the words ali (wings), and Italia (Italy). Facing bankruptcy, the loss of a major fuel supplier, and a possible grounding by Italy's civil aviation authority, the airline announced a €500 million rescue package which includes a €75 million investment by the Italian state-owned postal operator.



Creation of Alitalia-CAI

In 2008, a group of investors made the "Compagnia Aerea Italiana" (CAI) consortium aimed to buy the bankrupt Alitalia — Linee Aeree Italiane ("old" Alitalia) and to merge these with Air One, another Italian carrier.


On 30 October 2008 CAI offered €1000 million to acquire parts of the bankrupt airline, amidst pilots' and flight crew members' opposition to labour agreements.


On 19 November 2008, CAI's offer was accepted by the bankruptcy administrator of Alitalia with the permission of the Italian government, at the time major shareholder of the bankrupt airline. Alitalia's profitable assets were transferred to CAI on 12 December 2008 after CAI paid €1052 million, consisting of €427 million in cash and the assumption of responsibility for €625 million in Alitalia debt.


A USA diplomatic cable disclosed in 2011 summarised the operation as follows: "Under the guise of a rather quaint (and distinctly un-EU) desire to maintain the Italian-ness of the company, a group of wealthy Berlusconi cronies was enticed into taking over the healthy portions of Alitalia, leaving its debts to the Italian taxpayers. The rules of bankruptcy were changed in the middle of the game to meet the government's needs. Berlusconi pulled this one off, but his involvement probably cost the Italian taxpayers a lot of money."


On 13 January 2009 the "new" Alitalia re-launched operations. The owners of Compagnia Aerea Italiana sold 25% of the company's shares to Air France-KLM for €322 million. Air France-KLM also obtained an option, subject to certain conditions, to purchase additional shares after 2013.

History under new ownership

In January 2010, Alitalia celebrated its first birthday since the relaunch. It carried 22 million passengers in its first year of operations. In 2011, 25 million passengers were carried.


On 1 February 2010, it was announced that Alitalia crew would go on a four hour strike over wages. This was the first strike action for Alitalia since the relaunch.


On 11 February 2010, Alitalia announced that, starting from March 2010, it would be using Air One as a low-fare airline ("Smart Carrier"), with operations based in Milan Malpensa Airport, focused on short-haul leisure routes. It was predicted that the subsidiary would handle 2.4 million passengers by 2012. In 2011, 1.4 million passengers were carried by the subsidiary. Although operations were initially to be concentrated at Milan Malpensa, Air One operates from four bases as of January 2013: Milan-Malpensa, Venice-Marco Polo, Pisa and Catania.


On 12 February 2011, information was released about a possible merger between Alitalia and Meridiana Fly, another Italian carrier, however the airlines are still independent as of March 2012.


On 25 January 2012, Alitalia signed memoranda of understanding with two other Italian airlines, Blue Panorama and Wind Jet, and said to have started processes "aimed at achieving integration" with them.


By the end of July 2012, the Italian antitrust authority granted Alitalia, to acquire Wind Jet, but in return Alitalia had to give up slots on domestic key routes. Faced with this, Alitalia cancelled the plans a few days later in August 2012.



A variety of different slogans are currently being used by Alitalia:


"Alitalia vola con te" (Alitalia flies with you)


"Fatti per volare alto" (Made to fly high)


"Alitalia, al lavoro per te" (Alitalia, working for you)


"Muoviamo chi muove l'Italia" (We move the people who keep Italy going)


"The pleasure of flying Made in Italy"


The old Alitalia, since 2005, year in which the new modernised logo and livery were introduced, also used a mix of slogans:


"Volare, nella tua vita" (Flying, in your life)


"Volare in compagnia dell'Italia" (Fly with Italy companionship)


Airline operations


Alitalia's head office is located in Piazza Almerico da Schio, Pal. RPU – 00054 Fiumicino (RM). The corporate headquarters was designed by AMDL, a Milan-based architecture firm. The chairman of the airline is Roberto Colaninno; the first chief executive officer since the relaunch was Rocco Sabelli. On 28 February 2012 Andrea Ragnetti became the new chief executive officer of the company. On April 2013 he was replaced by Gabriele Del Torchio, former chief executive officer of Ducati.


Compagnia Aerea Italiana (CAI), a consortium that bought all the profitable activities of the old Alitalia and Air One in 2008, holds a 75% stake in Alitalia, while Air France-KLM holds the other 25%. On October 2013, the state-owned postal service Poste Italiane announced to buy a 15% Alitalia's stake, by injecting 100 million euros into the company's equity and allowing the following capital increase of 300 million euros.


Finance and load factors

Alitalia Financial and operational results Year Operating profit (€ millions) Load Factor (%) On-time (%) Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Total Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Average Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Average 2009 -210 -63 15 -15 -273 51 65 74 70 65 72 72 ND ND 72 2010 -125 -4 56 -34 -107 65 71 76 72 71 82 83 ND ND 80 2011 -86 17 90 -27 -6 64 72 78 77 73 91 85 86 80 86 2012 -109 -60 50 0 -119 69 73 78 80 75 88 90 84 86 87 2013 -136 × × × -136 71 × × × 71 88 × × × 88

ND = No Data


As of 29 July 2009, Alitalia is the first airline for domestic flights in Italy, and was the third airline for international flights to/from Italy. As of 4 October 2010, Alitalia has overtaken Easyjet in this respect and is therefore in second place.


2010 was an "uphill struggle" for Alitalia, whereas a break-even was almost achieved in 2011, despite the difficulties arising from high fuel costs and recent regional troubles in Japan and North Africa. Alitalia has said in a press release that the prospects for 2012 are "still challenging".


Alitalia was nominated as Europe's most punctual airline in 2010, and as one of the world's five most punctual airlines in 2011.


As of 28 October 2010, Alitalia has 53% of the market share on domestic routes (based on seat capacity).



Alitalia, including flights operated by its subsidiary Air One Smart Carrier, serves 98 destinations in 44 countries (at September 2013). Alitalia's Hub is at Rome Fiumicino Airport, and six other Italian airports are focus cities. Air One's operating bases are at Milan Malpensa Airport, Pisa Airport and Venice Marco Polo Airport.


Codeshare agreements

In addition to its Air One subsidiaries, Alitalia and Alitalia CityLiner also has codeshare agreements with the following airlines (as of August 2013):


Aeroflot (ST)


Aerolineas Argentinas (ST)




Air Calin


Air Corsica


Air Europa (ST)


Air France (ST)


Azerbaijan Airlines


Bulgaria Air


Carpatair Alitalia's pilots and flight attendants have protested the codeshare agreement with Carpatair, citing safety concerns. On the evening of February 2, 2013, the landing gear collapsed during landing on a flight from Pisa to Rome operated by Carpatair for Alitalia. The next morning journalists in Rome covering the incident were nonplussed to discover the ATR 72 turboprop had been painted completely white during the night, obliterating Alitalia's green, white and red livery.


China Airlines (ST)


China Eastern Airlines (ST)


Cyprus Airways


Czech Airlines (ST)


Darwin Airline


Delta Air Lines (ST)


Etihad Airways


Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligentes


Jat Airways




Korean Air (ST)


Kuwait Airways




Middle East Airlines (ST)


Montenegro Airlines


Saudia (ST)


SriLankan Airlines (future OW)


TAP Portugal (SA)





As of June 2013, the Alitalia mainline fleet consists of the following aircraft:


Alitalia Mainline Fleet Aircraft In fleet Orders Passengers Notes J Y+ Y Total Airbus A319-100 22 — 32 — 90 122 — — 138 138 Airbus A320-200 48 — 34 — 114 148 — — 165 165 Airbus A321-100 20 — 28 — 158 186 — — 200 200 Airbus A330-200 10 — 28 21 181 230 To be reconfigured to 255 seats until March 2014 2 — 20 — 263 283 To be reconfigured to 255 seats until March 2014 0 4 20 13 222 255 Deliveries 2014-2016 Airbus A350-800 0 12 23 15 232 270 Deliveries 2014-2015 Boeing 777-200ER 10 2 30 24 239 293 Deliveries 2014-2016 Embraer 175LR 15 — 16 — 72 88 Embraer 190LR 5 — 16 — 84 100 Total 132 18

As of June 2013, the Alitalia Cityliner fleet consists of 20 aircraft and Air One fleet consists of 9 aircraft; the Alitalia-CAI Group fleet consists of 141 aircraft with a total age of 6,5 years.


Between 2009 and 2011, Alitalia renewed its fleet with the arrival of 34 new aircraft, while 26 older planes retired. Alitalia Mainline has an average fleet age of 8.1 years as of April 2013. The renewal process ended in early 2013.


All Airbus A320 family aircraft were refitted with new "slim" leather Recaro seats in 2010. Seatback TV screens for entertainment were installed on some aircraft.


On 23 February 2011, Alitalia and ENAC announced the introduction of the Safety Card written in braille and characters in 3-D relief, which has been introduced on scheduled flights for the first time in the world.


Special liveries

In mid-2009, Alitalia painted one of its Boeing 767-300ER () in SkyTeam livery.


On 19 July 2010, the Airbus A320-200 with registration EI-DSA, which had previously been in the Air One livery, was painted into a special "" livery ().


In March 2012, the Embraer E-190-100LR with registration EI-RND was delivered in SkyTeam livery.()


In March 2012, the Boeing 777-200ER with registration EI-DDH was painted in SkyTeam livery.()


In April 2012, the Airbus A321-100 with registration EI-IXI was painted in historic livery Freccia Alata-Linee Aeree Italiane ().


Historical fleet

Over the years, Alitalia has operated the following aircraft types:


Alitalia Historical Fleet Aircraft Introduced Retired Airbus A319 2002 — Airbus A320 1999 — Airbus A321 1994 — Airbus A330-200 2009 — Boeing 747-200 1971 2004 Boeing 767-300ER 1995 2012 Boeing 777-200ER 2002 — McDonnell Douglas MD-82 1983 2012

Retired aircraft

The Boeing 767-300ER was introduced to the fleet from 1995, and then retired after 17 years of service. The last flight with this aircraft type operated on 25 October 2012 using the plane with registration EI-DDW on flight AZ845 (Accra-Lagos-Rome).


The McDonnell Douglas MD-82 was introduced to the fleet from 1983, and then retired after 29 years of service. The last flight with this aircraft type operated on 27 October 2012 using the plane with registration I-DATI on flight AZ1740 (Catania-Rome). The same aircraft on December 17, 2012 operated a memorial flight from Rome-Fiumicino Airport to Trieste Airport with on board journalists and Alitalia's CEO Andrea Ragnetti. During landing, I-DATI was supported by Frecce Tricolori, they did a show for the occasion. The hostesses on board dressed in Alitalia's historical uniform.



Alitalia has four classes of service:


Classica, the name given to Alitalia's economy class. On short and medium haul flights passengers receive a free drinks and a snack or light meal service, depending on the length of the flight. Personal TV screens for entertainment are present in each seat on some Airbus A320 and A319 planes. On long haul flights, passengers receive a free meal service as well as (on most planes) personal TV screens for entertainment.


Classica plus is Alitalia's Premium Economy available on some long haul flights. The service is the same as Economy however passengers get some extra benefits such as extra legroom, dedicated check-in desk and higher baggage allowance.


Ottima, Alitalia's short and medium haul business class, with an improved catering service and baggage allowance compared to Economy, as well as a dedicated check-in desk and access to the V.I.P. lounges in the airport.


Magnifica is Alitalia's long haul business class, with special benefits since the recent upgrade: New catering (regionally focused, changing monthly and including a new selection of wines and "spumante" changes prepared in cooperation with the Italian Sommelier Association) New blankets / duvets / cushions / linens by Frette New amenity kits by Bulgari New china by Richard Ginori New flat-bed Magnifica Class seats on Alitalia's Airbus A330-200 and 777 aircraft.



The new Alitalia inherited Alitalia - Linee Aeree Italiane's membership of the SkyTeam alliance. Alitalia-LAI originally joined in 2001.


Alitalia has since opened up code-share agreements with SkyTeam members, allowing passengers to fly to numerous destinations using a single Alitalia ticket.


In July 2010, Alitalia joined leading SkyTeam members Air France, KLM and Delta's Transatlantic Joint Venture, meaning that the profits on flights across the Atlantic are shared between the four airlines.



The airline's frequent-flyer programme is named "MilleMiglia" (thousand miles), and is part of the SkyTeam alliance programme, allowing passengers to collect miles and redeem them with free tickets across the whole alliance.


It also grants access to Alitalia's Privilege clubs, Ulisse, Freccia Alata, and finally Freccia Alata Plus, depending on how many miles you have collected in a year, with various advantages depending on the club. These clubs give access to SkyTeam Elite (Ulisse) and SkyTeam Elite+ (Freccia Alata, Freccia Alata plus).


Incidents and accidents

Listed here are incidents since Alitalia's relaunch of operations on 13 January 2009:


On 24 April 2011 an attempt was made to hijack Alitalia Flight 329, en route from Charles de Gaulle Airport, Paris, France to Fiumicino Airport, Rome and divert it to Tripoli International Airport, Libya. The hijacker, reported to be an advisor to the Kazakhstan delegation to UNESCO, was subdued by cabin crew and other passengers. He was arrested and taken into custody after the aircraft made a safe landing at Rome.


On 29th September 2013 at 8:10PM, an Alitalia Airbus A320 flying from Madrid Barajas Airport to Rome Fiumicino airport failed to deploy the landing gear during a storm on landing and the aircraft toppled, skidded off the runway and it crashed. 10 passengers suffered minor injuries and all 151 passengers and crew were evacuated and taken to hospital. The crash is still being investigated.




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