What is ITA Airways?
To many the name ITA Airways might sound unfamiliar and they’d be totally justified in feeling that way. ITA Airways has only existed since late 2021. Since then it has become the official Italian flag carrier, replacing Alitalia.
Alitalia had been in a dire financial situation for many decades and covid was the last straw. After a number of failed takeovers by Air France-KLM first and Etihad later, the Italian ministry of finance was forced to shut down the old flag carrier and start up a new airline.
The Italian government wasn’t allowed to use the names Alitalia or Millemiglia for the frequent flyer programme. Therefore ITA Airways and its frequent flyer programme Volare were born.
The Lufthansa Takeover?
For its first year and a half of existence ITA Airways was state run, however the European commission imposed that a strategic partner was to be found.
Initially Air France-KLM showed interest along with a joint proposal by Lufthansa and maritime company MSC. Air France-KLM soon after pulled out of the race just as MSC. Lufthansa was left as the sole interested party in the newly born Italian airline.
Following negotiations the German flag carrier took over a 41% minority stake in the new Italian airline with an option to take over the remaining shares at a later stage.
Therefore this marked the entry of the new Italian flag carrier in the Lufthansa Group.
ITA Airways’ Fleet
In order to avoid service disruptions as much as possible, the new Italian flag carrier inherited most of its initial fleet from Alitalia. ITA went as far as operating the fleet still painted in the Alitalia livery with crew still wearing the Alitalia uniform for quite a significant amount of time.
However from the get go the plan for ITA Airways was to drastically lower its fleet age. It did so by placing orders for a significant amount of planes with Airbus, therefore getting rid of all the old Alitalia Boeing planes. The Italian flag carrier ordered all new generation jets such as:
With the first deliveries arriving in late 2022 and early 2023. However ITA’s fleet will still feature some seriously outdated A330-200s at least until 2025. So avoid them if you can.
The Airline’s Hubs
Officially the airline has 2 hubs, however only one of the two airports is a primary hub, while the other is only a hub for European flights.
The Italian flag carrier’s main hub is Rome Fiumicino International Airport (FCO). All of ITA Airways’ long range and ULR flights depart from Rome Fiumicino Airport (FCO), with the only exception being one flight from Milan Malpensa (MXP) to New York (JFK).
However ITA also operates a significant amount of flights from and to Milan Linate Airport (LIN). Linate is Milan’s city airport and is a key airport as it serves medium and short haul flights to the wealthy Italian financial capital. ITA Airways just couldn’t let go of this lucrative market and decided to operate out of Linate as a secondary hub.
Which Alliance Is ITA Airways Part Of?
Since late 2021 ITA Airways has been a member of the Skyteam alliance. The same alliance its predecessor Alitalia was part of. However following the Lufthansa takeover, I mentioned above, the airline is likely to switch sides and join the Star Alliance.