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The recent bill pushed out by the Italian government, to sustain the economy during the Covid-19 crisis contains substantial aid for Alitalia. The Italian carrier is becoming once again state owned. This doesn’t magically blow away all of the airline’s problems. In other words this means that the new management will still have to take action to tackle the airline’s issues.

Alitalia A320 During Take Off Phase
Alitalia A320 During Take Off Phase

A Likely Significant Fleet Reduction

Alitalia as of today has a fleet of 93 aircraft, of which:

  • 22 Airbus A319-100
  • 38 Airbus A319-200
  • 7 Airbus A321-100
  • 14 Airbus A330-200
  • 11 Boeing 777-200ER
  • 1 Boing 777-300ER

Part of these aircraft are already scheduled to go out of service in the near future. However other planes might suffer the same fate and be retired from the fleet. AZ (Alitalia) features many leased planes in its fleet which they are paying at a much higher price compared to the worldwide average.

In other words the airline’s fleet is in dire need of restructuring. Many of these leases will probabily be the first to undergo scrutiny. This is why often you’ll see Alitalia fly airplanes with an Irish registration. The new management will be looking to cut any unneccessary cost, or excessive cost. It is very likely that the airline will significantly reduce its fleet.

There are rumors going around that the new Alitalia will have a fleet significantly smaller. The figure that many are talking about is a fleet of 30 or so units. Which aircraft will be kept is all to be seen. Of course it depends a lot on the business model that will be laid out. If the focus will be long range we might see Alitalia retain a portion of their A330s and Boeing 777s.

Alitalia A330 Flying at Altitude
Alitalia A330 Flying at Altitude

My idea is that there will be a combination of long and short haul aircraft in the fleet, with a significant reduction of the routes covered. Probably we’ll see Alitalia cut down its routes only operating where they can make a profit out of it.

Staff: The Biggest Problem

Alitalia’s workforce is huge when you compare to the revenue the airline turns over on a yearly basis. The biggest problem is still oversized numbers in the workforce, which is in excess of 11,000 workers. It’s clear to all of us also that if there will be a reduction in the fleet size there will have to be a reduction in the staff as well.

Alitalia A320 During Landing Phase
Alitalia A320 During Landing Phase

Right now there is talk that the reduction in staff may involve more or less 4,500 workers. Staff numbers should go down towards, or below, the 7,000 unit mark. This is something that Alitalia has been trying to tackle for a long time. The plans to do so always fell through, but if there is the real intention to save the iconic Italian airline this time the management must go all the way.

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