For the third time, the Italian government is trying to make possible the existence of a flag airline in the country. This Friday, Italia Trasporto Aereo, a new carrier that took over from the bankrupt ITA Airways, began operating.
Although ITA has a different legal identity, in reality it will be the third edition of Alitalia as the company won the rights to the famous brand on the eve of its debut.
After stipulating a minimum value of €290 million for the rights to the ‘Alitalia’ brand, the bankruptcy trustees accepted a bid of just €90 million made by ITA.
Given the lack of a visual identity since it was launched – with the exception of a logo and a plane painted with the slogan “Born in 2021”, ITA is expected to assume the name “Alitalia” soon.
Despite this, on Friday, the directors of the new company presented a new brand, which refers to its predecessor, but whose planes will be blue. To justify the investment of nearly $90 million in the old brand, ITA says that its intention was to preserve the heritage, but that in the future actions could be taken with it.
At the beginning of the operation, the new company, which is controlled by the Italian state, is using 52 planes that belonged to Alitalia, in addition to serving a large part of its air network.
75 complicated years
Founded in 1946 as Alitalia – Linee Aeree Italiane, shortly after the end of World War II, the carrier had golden times, but always proved to be a loss-making company.
In 2008, the first bankruptcy occurred, but the Italian government managed to get the private sector to save the ‘Alitalia’ name by joining the company’s estate with the airline Air One, creating Alitalia – Compagnia Aerea Italiana.
The new Alitalia launched its flights in 2009, having Air France-KLM among its partners, but in 2014 the company was sold by a new entity, Alitalia – Società Aerea Italiana, controlled by Etihad Airways.
In 2017, Alitalia filed for bankruptcy, starting to be judicially administered. The Italian government tried to find a buyer for the company, but last year it ended up taking over due to the uncertainties caused by the pandemic.
Hopefully, in the new chapter that begins this October 15th, the story may be quite different than in the last 75 years.