What to know about Europe’s newest airline

There’s a week to go before the world’s newest airline launches, and it’s promising to bring some dolce vita back to the skies.
From October 15, ITA — Italia Trasporto Aereo — will be the new state-owned carrier for Italy, following the closure of bankrupt Alitalia on October 14.
It’s been a while in the making. Alitalia has been floundering for years, and more recently there’s been debate as to whether ITA was a separate enough company to take over while shedding Alitalia’s debts.
But in September, the EU ruled that ITA and Alitalia are separate companies, meaning ITA can start afresh.
Information is scarce, but here’s what we know so far.
Who owns ITA?
Italia Trasporto Aereo is “wholly owned by the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance,” according to its filing with the US Department of Transport. The aim, it says, is to create “an efficient, innovative and competitive airline.”
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Where will it fly?
It had been assumed that ITA will take over most, if not all, of Alitalia’s slots. Alitalia served 94 destinations, 26 of which were in Italy.
However, from its website, ITA will start slowly. Routes on sale for immediate travel are as follows.
Italy: Brindisi, Bologna, Bari, Catania, Rome, Genoa, Milan Linate, Naples, Palermo, Pescara, Reggio Calabria, Lamezia Terme, Trieste, Turin, Venice, Verona.
Short- and medium-haul: Algiers, Amsterdam, Athens, Barcelona, Brussels, Cairo, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Geneva, London Heathrow, Madrid, Malta, Munich, Nice, Paris (Charles de Gaulle and Orly), Tirana, Tel Aviv, Tunis, Zurich.
Long-haul: Tokyo, New York.
There are more on the cards. Buenos Aires, Miami, Boston and São Paulo will be added from March 2022, along with Luxembourg, Stuttgart and Florence. More European destinations are scheduled for summer 2022, along with Los Angeles.
On October 5, the airline opened sales for flights to the US with major fanfare. Alitalia flew all the routes it has picked, as well as Rome to Chicago. ITA has requested to add flights to Chicago, Francisco, San Francisco and Washington DC in the future.
The fact that ITA sent out a press release about its US flights implies it might be wanting to focus on long-haul business. That’ll come as a relief to some who were concerned that Alitalia’s domestic focus was key to its downfall.
Will it take Alitalia’s airplanes?
Not permanently. One of the few decisions ITA has announced is to have a fleet exclusively comprising Airbus. The airline has announced it will buy 28 new aircraft, and lease 45 more — on terms, it says, more favorable than Alitalia’s.
The first new jets will enter the fleet in early 2022, and by late 2025, it says that 70% of the fleet will be new-generation aircraft, which are less damaging for the environment.
It plans to start with 52, and increase to 105 by 2025.
However, that’s a way off. In its DoT filing, ITA wrote that before it takes to the skies on October 15, it will have acquired “certain assets (such as aircraft) from Alitalia.” So expect things to look fairly similar at the start.,50157837.html,50158115.html

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