Italy’s national carrier, Alitalia, has announced that all flights from 15th October will be cancelled and that the airline is officially closing.
Not unexpected, with all signs pointing to the airline’s closure for months, Italy has struggled to attract investors to save the bankrupt airline after it was put into state administration in 2017. Additionally, the pandemic significantly worsened the airline’s financial woes, which decimated the global aviation industry and even saw the most robust airlines having to embark on aggressive cost-cutting exercises.
In 2019, the last full year before the pandemic wreaked havoc on the world, Alitalia carried 21.3 million passengers to 81 different destinations, operating 3,600 flights weekly. It is unclear what will happen to the 10,000 staff employed at the airline.
Those passengers who had flights booked from 15th October onwards will be able to choose earlier dates or get a refund.
According to Euronews, most options available to ticket holders on the impacted dates are available to those who purchased their ticket before 24th August 2021, with a ticket number starting with 055.
Furthermore, the airline will be getting Government support, with plans to pass on to passengers for refunds and reimbursements.
The Government of Italy has reportedly set up a €100 million fund to reimburse customers and comes as the country concluded on a bailout agreement with the EU to create a new debt-free company that would take over Alitalia’s assets.
Italia Trasporto Aereo
With the country’s national carrier winding down, it was also announced that Alitalia will be replaced by state-owned ITA – Italia Trasporto Aereo. It will start selling tickets as of 26th August (today) and will begin flying on 15th October. Italy’s civil aviation authorities gave the new national carrier the green light last week.
Additionally, ITA will reportedly buy 52 of Alitalia’s aircraft, alongside landing slots and other assets. ITA plans to fly to destinations such as New York, Boston, Miami, Tokyo, and, several European destinations.
Passengers will, unfortunately, be unable to transfer Alitalia flights to ITA, and will be required to get a refund from the former and book new tickets on the latter’s new website, not yet operational, or through travel agencies and airport offices.
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