ROM (AP) – The new airline, which is being created to replace the long financially troubled Alitalia, will take off with its first flights on October 15, the Italian Ministry of Economic Affairs announced on Thursday.
In a statement, the ministry announced that the new company ITA will be fully operational at that time, following the positive outcome of the talks with the Executive Commission of the European Union. Alitalia’s last flights appear to be on October 14th.
For years, EU competition officials have raised concerns that the Italian government’s financial support for Alitalia is against the bloc’s rules.
“The discussion with the EU Commission made it possible to come to a constructive and balanced solution that guarantees the necessary discontinuity with regard to European rules,” said the ministry.
ITA stands for Italia Trasporto Aeroo or Italy Air Transport. However, it is still unclear exactly which name or logo the aircraft of the new airline will bear. There will be a public tender for the “Alitalia” brand, for which ITA will apply.
The deal to found the new airline is to reduce the number of slots, particularly at Rome’s main airport, Leonardo da Vinci. Milan Linate Airport, popular with business travelers as it is close to the Italian capital of the financial and fashion industries, will also reduce some slots.
ITA plans to operate flights to New York from Milan and Rome and to Tokyo, Boston and Miami from Rome among its routes. Destinations from Rome and Milan’s Linate Airport include Paris, London, Amsterdam, Brussels, Frankfurt and Geneva.
The Italian news agency LaPresse reported, citing a statement from ITA, that the ITA board on Thursday approved an industrial plan for the new company from this year until 2025.
According to its own information, ITA plans to initially operate a fleet of seven wide-bodied aircraft and 45 narrow-body aircraft and add 26 more aircraft this year. ITA aims to have a fleet of up to 105 aircraft by the end of 2025.
Alitalia currently employs around 10,000 people. The new company could take over some of the workers who have been staging strikes in recent years to demand more attention for the airline’s future. In the past few months, they have also faced uncertainty about on-time payment.
ITA announced that it will start operations this year with around 2,750 to 2,950 employees in the aviation sector and to increase the number to 5,550 to 5,700 by the end of 2025.
“Everyone will be hired on a new contract that will ensure greater competitiveness and flexibility compared to other operators in the industry,” noted ITA.