ITA Airways

Why Is ITA Airways Axing The Milan New York Service AZ604?

I’ve covered in another post which are the airlines that fly the Milan to New York route. The options are a lot and competition is fierce on this particular sector. There is a high demand both in terms of leisure and business travel on this route. However one option, the most Italian option of them all, might be disappearing on the route quite soon. It seems that ITA Airways, the Italian flag carrier, will be removing the service from its network. Here’s when and why.

ITA Airways Axing the Milan New York Route?

It seems that this is exactly the case. It is extremely likely that soon ITA Airways will no longer be serving this high demand and competition route. Tickets are currently still on sale for flight AZ604, Milan Malpensa to New York JFK, but not for much longer.

In fact just doing a simple search on the airline’s website you can easily find out that the last available date to book a ticket is January 7th 2024. There are no tickets on sale for dates after January 7th. The cancelling of this flight will mark the severing of all ties with the ITA’s, or more precisely Alitalia’s, past.

ITA Airways abbandona il volo Milano Malpensa New York AZ604

The Last Standing Testament of The Long Gone l’Alitalia

Flight AZ604 Milan Malpensa New York is in all respects the last testament of the long gone Alitalia. Here’s why. ITA Airways operates only 1 flight, yes that’s right 1 flight, in and out of Malpensa Airport. That flight is AZ604 to New York. The Italian airline from day one has opted to use Rome Fiumicino airport as its long range hub while Linate is its secondary hub with intraeuropean services and feeder services to FCO.

One of the huge problems the old flag carrier Alitalia had, was not making a clear cut decision for too long on which airport between MXP and FCO would be its main hub. However since the birth of ITA things have changed and AZ604 is the only remaining proof of this long gone era.

A330-200 ITA Airways in livrea Alitalia

Why is ITA Airways Withdrawing from the Milan Malpensa to New York Route?

There are at least a couple of problems that have brought the airline to finally make this decision to withdraw from this route. Although the demand is very high, competition is fierce and here’s why ITA can’t keep up with it on the MXP-JFK route.

The main problem the airline has is that ITA Airways has 0 feeder traffic coming into Milan to help fill flights to New York. All passengers travelling on AZ604 either originated in Milan or are travelling on 2 different reservations (unlikely). All feeder traffic is served into Rome Fiumicino which is the airline’s main hub. This means that ITA has to compete on the Milan New York route only on price and hard product against the likes of the American carriers and Emirates.

Let’s start off with the hard product. The airline is still in the process of acquiring new wide body planes to expand its operations. Also new generation modern planes are being deployed on more strategic routes from Rome Fiumicino. That means that the Milan Malpensa to New York route is left to be served by a very dated A330-200 which used to belong to Alitalia. As a matter of fact the aircraft still features the Alitalia interiors as ITA is not going to retrofit these aircraft but just gradually phase them out of the fleet. So they are clearly not offering the best hard product.

In terms of pricing it is difficult to undercut airlines that have better economies of scale or lower operating costs. Therefore ITA often isn’t even the cheapest option on the route.

In essence the lack of competitiveness and low margins brought the airline to make the decision to abandon the route. A smart move in my opinion. Something that the old Alitalia would probably not have done. Also this frees up resources and aircraft to be redeployed on more profitable routes and services.

About the author

Alex Achille

Ex Cabin Crew with Emirates, I've always loved travelling and other cultures. In this website I'll be sharing my experiences along with my reviews of the latest Korean Dramas and TV Series I've watched.

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