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Italy’s ITA picks Airbus for fleet renewal

written by Isabella Richards | October 1, 2021
Airbus A320neo (Airbus)

Italy’s new airline Italia Trasporto Aereo (ITA) has selected Airbus for its fleet renewal as it begins flights this month.

The flag carrier signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Airbus to purchase seven A220 jets, 11 A320neo jets and 10 A330neos to begin operations.

The news comes after sources alluded in July the airline was leaning towards Airbus for its aircraft, despite its predecessor Alitalia being a customer of Boeing’s 777s.

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ITA also signed a deal with Air Lease Corp (ALC) for a long-term order of 31 Airbus aircraft, consisting of 15 A220s, two more A320neos, nine A321neos and five A330-900neos.

The 31 aircraft will be delivered to ITA progressively from mid-2022 through to early 2025.

In July, the European Commission and the Italian government announced ITA would officially replace Alitalia, which had been bankrupt since 2017.

ITA’s flights will begin 15 October, seeing the last Alitalia flight to operate the day before on 14 October.

The newly secured deal allows ITA to avoid taking on the liabilities of its predecessor and be recognised as an entirely new entity.

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The executive chairman of ITA, Alfredo Altavilla, said the partnership with Airbus and ALC would “jumpstart” the company’s plan to operate a sustainable fleet at lower costs.

The company will operate a fleet of seven wide-body and 45 narrow-body jets initially and will acquire its first set of new aircraft by the end of 2022’s first quarter.

ITA hopes to see its fleet increase to 105 aircraft by 2025.

Choosing Airbus for its fleet renewal comes off the back of the planemaker reporting its best month of orders in August since January 2020, when the pandemic began.

It received 102 orders, compared to its steepest dry spell in July, reporting only two orders in total.

Relying on a single supplier is to “eliminate the complexity and inefficiencies deriving from operating aircraft from different manufacturer,” according to sources who spoke to Corriere della Sera in July.

It was rumoured Boeing offered discounts as large as 70 per cent – as the planemaker rebounds from the 737 MAX – but ITA ultimately chose Airbus for its environmentally-friendly jets.

“ITA has done a thorough clean sheet aircraft evaluation and has chosen Airbus across all segments,” said Christian Scherer, Airbus chief commercial officer and head of Airbus International.

“This is very gratifying and a testimony of the great value of the Airbus product range. It sets a benchmark in driving the decarbonisation and efficiency agenda.”

ITA initially plans to serve routes from Milan and New York and between Rome and Boston, New York and Miami when its services commence this October.

 

 

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