Bankrupt Alitalia has officially operated its last ever flight after 74 years of service, now set for successor Italia Trasporto Aereo (ITA) to take its place.
The Airbus A320 jet took off at 10:05pm on 14 October from Cagliari and landed in Rome at 11:23pm, Flightradar24 shows.
ITA is set to operate its first flight on 15 October, beginning a new era as Italy’s flag carrier.
Brief history of Alitalia
Alitalia – originally named Aereolinee Italiane Internazionali – operated its inaugural domestic flight on 5 May 1947 on a Turin-Rome-Catania route, according to the company.
That same year in July, it operated its first international flight from Rome to Oslo, with 38 passengers on board a mid-range Italian Savoia Marchetti SM95 aircraft.
It remained Italy’s largest carrier for decades, operating from its base hub at Leonardo da Vici-Fiumicino Airport.
In 1957, Alitalia entered into a merging deal with Linee Aeree Italiane, then inheriting the name Alitalia- Linee Aeree Italiane.
But the airline was commonly referred to as Alitalia, meaning Wings of Italy.
Despite the airline suffering from monetary issues in later years, Alitalia touted one of its most historic moments was when it was the sole carrier of the Rome Olympics in 1960.
In that same year, it carried more than one million passengers for the first time, a landmark moment for the airline.
In 1997, onboard a flight from Bombay to Rome, a mother gave birth during the flight to a girl named Maya, with the assistance of an Italian gynecologist on board the crew.
In 2010, Alitalia joined Air France-KLM Group in a bid to mitigate financial losses by sharing revenues and costs on trans-Atlantic routes across Europe.
European Commission, Italy approves ITA to take over
Alitalia continued to lose billions of dollars due to repaying state aid from the Italian government, and only reported one year of profit in 1998.
At one point, Alitalia claimed it did not have enough cash to pay employee salaries in 2004, which led to the airline receiving a bridging loan from the government in a deal with a number of unions.
After several years of dry cash flow, the carrier became bankrupt in 2017, only surviving through state aid, and then in March 2020, Alitalia was officially owned by the Italian government.
After ongoing negotiations, the government proposed plans to remodel Alitalia to become ITA in late 2020.
In July 2021, the Italian government and European Commission announced ITA would officially replace Alitalia.
The deal allows ITA to avoid taking on the liabilities of its predecessor and be recognised as an entirely new entity.
ITA said, as a newly formed state-owned airline, it expected revenue to be above €3.3 billion by 2025, and would reach €209 billion before interest and tax, breaking even by the end of 2023.
Alitalia operates around 11,000 staff, and between 2,750 and 2,950 will transfer to ITA, as that is all that is permitted through the deal.
ITA’s fleet renewal
In September, ITA confirmed it had penned a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Airbus to purchase seven A220 jets, 11 A320neo jets and 10 A330neos to begin operations.
ITA also signed a deal with Air Lease Corp for a long-term order of 31 Airbus aircraft, consisting of 15 A220s, two more A320neos, nine A321neos and five A330-900neos.
Its first flight on 15 October will operate from Rome to Milan, flaunting new livery on an A320neo which says “Born in 2021” on the sides and “Operated by ITA” painted on its fuselage.