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ITA Airways To Expand Fleet With 39 New Aircraft In 2023

By Dave Simpson

ITA Airways will next year refresh its fleet with 39 new aircraft, allowing it to serve more long-distance destinations, the state-owned successor to Alitalia has said.

Details

Long-distance flights are more profitable than short and medium haul ones, where ITA and Alitalia ceded market share to low-cost rivals such as Ryanair and EasyJet.

ITA "has underwritten all the commitments for increasing the fleet in 2023, next year 39 new generation aircraft will enter into service" including nine wide-bodied Airbus A330-900, the company said in a statement.

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Older aircraft will discontinue service, ITA said, stating that the upgrade will mean a 73% increase in the ASK (available seat kilometre) metric, measuring passenger carrying capacity.

By the end of 2023, ITA said it will have 96 planes, half of which will be new, including the single-aisle A321Neo. With the expanded fleet, the airline plans to open new routes from Rome to San Francisco, Washington, Riyadh, Jeddah and Kuwait City.

ITA was established in late 2020 from the ashes of bankrupt Alitalia, and has yet to turn a profit.

Until last month, the Italian government was locked in talks over the sale of a majority stake in ITA to US private equity fund Certares, backed by Air France-KLM and Delta.

The exclusivity period with Certares expired on 31 October without a deal. Previously, Germany's Lufthansa and shipping group MSC had filed a rival joint bid for the struggling Italian carrier.

Italy Names Former Treasury Official To Head ITA Airways

The above news was followed by news that the Italian economy ministry on Wednesday 16 November said it would appoint former Treasury official Antonino Turicchi as chairman of state-owned carrier ITA Airways, the successor to Alitalia.

Turicchi, who also sat on the board of state-controlled bank Monte dei Paschi di Siena, is currently the CEO of FINTECNA, a financial holding company controlled by state lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP).

At ITA Airways, he will take the place of Alfredo Altavilla, who resigned earlier this month after a clash with several board members over strategy to complete the privatisation of the airline.

In August, the Treasury picked a group led by US private equity fund Certares, backed by Air France-KLM and Delta Air Lines Inc, for exclusive talks on buying a majority stake in the carrier.

The consortium beat a rival bid presented by shipping group MSC and Germany's Lufthansa.

The exclusivity period ended last month but talks over a potential sale agreement are continuing.

It remains to be seen whether MSC and Lufthansa will formalise a new offer.

Confirming a Reuters report on Tuesday 15 November, the Treasury said in a statement it would appoint Turicchi at an ITA Airways shareholders' meeting on Wednesday 16 November.

Turicchi had recently been indicated by political sources as a potential candidate to replace Alessandro Rivera as director-general of the Treasury.

News by Reuters, edited by Hospitality Ireland. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.

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