By Matteo Giardini
‘Old Alitalia’ Prepares for Closure As ITA Gets Ready for Launch
Ahead of a recently announced first flight scheduled for Oct. 15, future Italian flag carrier Italia Trasporto Aereo, better known as ITA, officially began ticket sales yesterday. The “new Alitalia” will effectively replace ticket sales of the old company, which has been undergoing bankruptcy procedures since 2017.
The purchase of tickets with ITA will be done either through travel agents or the carrier’s website, though the site is not yet operational. Meanwhile, passengers who have bought tickets with the old Alitalia are supposed to have received an email from the airline sharing that flights booked for a date after Oct. 15 have been unilaterally cancelled.
Two options will be offered for passengers with tickets from the old Alitalia: a refund or the possibility to rebook on a similar flight operated by Alitalia before Oct. 14. Currently, tickets are not transferrable between Alitalia and ITA.
In order to be able to rebook tickets on Alitalia, a passenger must have a ticket that begins with “055” bought before Aug. 24 with a departure on or after Oct. 15. Tickets that fulfil these two requirements are then able to request refunds or rebooking.
A passenger is able to rebook their flight for Oct. 14 or 15 or even earlier without any extra charges. Another option for a passenger seeking to rebook a ticket is rerouting. Passengers are able to change the destination of their flight, though will have to pay for any fare increase. However, passengers will not receive a refund if they are rebooked on a cheaper ticket.
There are certain limitations for reroutings. Domestic flights can only be substituted for domestic flights, while international flights cannot be changed whatsoever.
Disruptions are highly likely in this scenario, as the transition of flights between the old Alitalia and ITA is not likely to be smooth. As a result, the Italian government has already set aside approximately 100 million Euros ($118 million) for to compensate passengers or rebook them on other itineraries as necessary.
ITA recently received its air operator certificate from the Italian national aviation regulator Ente Nazionale Aviazione Civile and is now able to sell tickets. Two aircraft, an Airbus A320 and an Airbus A330 — both of which were previously operated by Alitalia — were used for the certification flights.
The new airline met with labor unions yesterday morning to discuss labor contracts and the transition of a number of employees from Alitalia to ITA. According to local outlets, ITA has already disclosed that newly hired employees will need to have the European Green Pass certifying either being vaccinated against COVID-19 or having recovered from COVID-19.
Furthermore, ITA will make fleet decisions by September to decide on what its operations structure will look like moving forward. According to ItaliaVola, ITA is set to begin operations with an initial fleet of 52 aircraft with short-, medium- and long-haul destinations.