ITA Airways unveiled its first Airbus A320neo on Wednesday, the aircraft that should be the base of its medium-haul fleet. The jetliner, still without registration, has just been painted by the Italian carrier in Shannon, Ireland.
The first A320neo is a new aircraft, serial number 11261, which performed its maiden flight on December 2. Originally, the Airbus would be delivered to the Russian airline S7 Airlines, but that was prevented due to sanctions against the country after the invasion of Ukraine.
The owner of the jet, Avolon, even negotiated it with the Indian Jet Airways, but ended up passing it on to ITA in a leasing contract.
As has been traditional, ITA Airways named the A320neo after a football player, Giacinto Facchetti, defender and captain of the Italian national team between the 1960s and 1970s.
According to the airline, the aircraft will enter service at the end of January, providing 20% fuel savings compared to the old A320s currently in operation. ITA also has an order with Airbus to receive 11 A320neos, in addition to seven A220s and 10 A330-900s.
In operation since October 2021, ITA Airways has taken over from Alitalia as Italy’s flag carrier. However, the government has been trying to privatize it since last year. The most likely candidate to control it is Lufthansa, which should acquire 40% of its share capital.