Great surprise caused in the world of commercial aviation and in international markets, the announcement of the closure of operations of one of the most traditional and recognized airlines in the world, not only in its country of origin, after 74 years of operations and millions of trips around the planet.
We refer to the airline Alitalia, famous for taking and bringing in their aircrafts the representative of God on Earth, The Pope, from Paul VI in 1964 and up to the present with the Pope Francisco. The airline will stop flying to give the runway to a new brand called ITA Airways.
The first ITA Airways flight took off this Friday at 0620 local time (0420 GMT) from Milan-Linate to Bari, in the south of the country, seven hours after Alitalia’s last landing, the night before in Rome, from Cagliari.
The new company, whose official name was announced this Friday, will have a green-white-red logo, which is inspired by that of the historic national airline, announced the general manager, Fabio Lazzerini.
“We do not want to forget the glorious past of Alitalia, but it will be a total rebirth”, in order to create a “sustainable” and “profitable” company, he explained.
Alitalia, founded on May 5, 1947, was the symbol of Italy’s economic miracle after World War II, becoming the seventh airline in the world in the 70s, before entering a long decline, which has worsened in the last years.
Its history is intertwined with that of the country: the first hostesses arrived on board in 1950, Alitalia became the official carrier of the Rome Olympics in 1960 and surpassed the million passenger mark, Paul VI was the first pope to fly in it in 1964 and Antonella Celletti, the first woman to fly one of his planes in 1989.
“We attended with deep sadness the end of Alitalia, which was our national flagship, a symbol of the history of this country,” said Laura Facchini, 47, a flight attendant from Alitalia for 20 years.
Like so many others, he requested in vain to become part of the ITA staff as part of the first batch of 2,800 people hired this year. Between now and 2022, 5,750 employees must be hired, out of a total of 10,500 that Alitalia has.
On the brink of bankruptcy Alitalia was placed under the supervision of the public administration in 2017, but its situation deteriorated even further due to the impact of the covid-19 pandemic, that has grounded airlines around the world.
In 2020, Alitalia recorded losses of 2 million euros (2.32 million dollars) a day, transporting only 6.3 million passengers in the year, compared to 52.1 million for Ryanair and 34 million for Air France-KLM.
The famous green logo on white background of Alitalia was acquired by ITA, paying 90 million euros (104 million dollars).
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