Business

Ciao, Alitalia! Italy’s iconic airline takes off for final flight after almost 75 years in service

The Italian national airline, Alitalia, is scheduled to run its last flight on October 14, with a service from Cagliari to Rome. It will be replaced with a new state airline, ITA, which begins operations on Friday.

Alitalia’s final flight from Sardinia is expected to touch down at the Rome-Fiumicino airport at 11:10pm (21:10 GMT), an airline spokesperson told Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa).

The airline, which for decades was associated with Italy’s postwar economic boom, has been losing money since 2008. In 2017 it went bankrupt and was put in the hands of special administrators. The coronavirus-related air travel restrictions added to Alitalia’s troubles. The airline ceased selling tickets on August 25, 2021.




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In September, the European Commission gave approval to ITA (Italia Trasporto Aereo) and ruled that the new company would not be held liable for €900 million ($1 billion) in illegal state aid received by its predecessor in 2017.

While some media report that the Alitalia name may not be dead yet and an agreement may be on the horizon, the initial auction to sell off the brand attracted no bids and ITA said the starting price was too high.

Italy’s 75-year-old national flag carrier, Alitalia, was Europe’s third largest airline in the late 1960s, behind British Airways and Air France. From its initial 10,000 passengers in 1947, Alitalia was carrying 25 million passengers annually by the 1990s.

It was the first airline in the world to carry a pope, with a papal aircraft known as Shepherd One. Alitalia has taken four popes to 171 countries on all continents.

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