Alitalia to resume service to India

Alitalia aircraft

Italy’s flagship carrier, Alitalia will resume service to India after an absence of nine years.

On May 11  the airline was declared insolvent by Italy Tribunal for losing 205 million euros earlier this year, and is relying on investors, mainly Etihad Airways for resurrection.

Effective from October 30, Alitalia will launch a daily direct service between New Delhi and Rome, until March 24, 2018.

A press release by Alitalia states: “The decision to launch this new service was taken to meet the increasing demand for flights between the two countries.”

Flight AZ 769 will depart from New Delhi at 0440 and arrive in Rome at 0900. Flight AZ 768 will take off at 1440 from the Italian capital and land in the Indian capital at 0240, the next day.

An A330 will fly the route. The aircraft will be equipped with “Made in Italy” amenities, and wifi for phone calls, internet and email. The on-board menu includes Italian cuisine and wine. Alitalia’s “Dine Anytime” meal service will give guests the flexibility to decide when would they like their meal. Business class seats in Italian brand Poltrona Frau leather recline to a flatbed position.

Alitalia passengers arriving at Rome Fiumicino Airport from New Delhi, will be able to take onward connections to 39 cities in Europe, North Africa and the Americas. A transit team will be available to help them arrive at the next departure gate on time.

alitalia.com

An A330 will fly the route. The aircraft will be equipped with “Made in Italy” amenities, and wifi for phone calls, internet and email. The on-board menu includes Italian cuisine and wine. Alitalia’s “Dine Anytime” meal service will give guests the flexibility to decide when would they like their meal. Business class seats in Italian brand Poltrona Frau leather recline to a flatbed position.

Alitalia passengers arriving at Rome Fiumicino Airport from New Delhi, will be able to take onward connections to 39 cities in Europe, North Africa and the Americas. A transit team will be available to help them arrive at the next departure gate on time.

alitalia.com

United and Alitalia launch flights to Havana

The Malecón, Old Havana, Cuba, with local Cuban residents and visitors relaxing and walking afternoon promenades. Featuring a broad esplanade, roadway, and seawall, the Avenida de Maceo is a famous place and tourist destination. People travel to view the Caribbean Sea waterfront, national capital city urban skyline, and community culture.

United Airlines and Alitalia have launched direct services to Havana.

United flights depart daily from New York’s Newark Liberty International airport and every Saturday from Houston Bush Intercontinental airport, both served by a B737. Flight schedules have yet to be released.

Alitalia flights from Rome Fiumicino will depart Tuesdays at 1035 and Saturdays at 1435, returning from Havana on Tuesdays at 1830 and Saturdays at 2230, both operated by a B777.

Earlier this year, JetBlue became the first US airline to make a commercial flight to Cuba in 55 years, flying from Fort Lauderdale to Santa Clara.

American Airlines also recently launched its first scheduled flight between Miami and Havana, with Delta and Spirit Airlines set to follow with inaugural services later this week.

See our Dec/Jan cover story for more on Cuba’s growing relationship with free trade.

united.com; alitalia.com

Cutbacks ahead at Alitalia?

Alitalia Aircraft

Cutbacks ahead at Alitalia ?

Report by Alex McWhirter

Alitalia was relaunched a couple of years ago with high expectations.

Gulf carrier Etihad acquired a 49 per cent stake in Italy’s national airline and the plan was to return Alitalia to its former glory.

See our recent report Online News, October 29, 2016.

https://www.businesstraveller.com/features/analysis-reinvention-alitalia/

But, if Italian media reports are to be believed, it hasn’t worked out that way and now Etihad is beginning to lose patience.

It means that later this month an Alitalia board meeting is expected to announce cutbacks.  The Alitalia fleet and network are likely to be slimmed down.  Trade unions claim that as many as 2,000 jobs could be lost.

On European routes it is understood that Alitalia will adopt BOB (buy on board) catering.

Between 15 and 20 of the carrier’s short-haul A320s could be retired.  There will be reductions in ground support to bring Alitalia’s cost structure more in line with its low-cost rivals.

Despite pledges made to cut its losses, Italian media reports that Alitalia is still expected to lose Euros 400 million this year.

No improvement is expected in 2017.  And yet when Etihad became involved with Alitalia the forecast loss in 2016 was estimated at Euros 50 million.

Alitalia’s CEO Cramer Ball has denied the rumours.

http://www.ch-aviation.com/portal/news/50820-alitalia-denies-reports-of-impending-heavy-job-fleet-cuts

Quoted by CH-Aviation he said, “The next stage of the business plan has not yet been finalised.  As such, nothing has yet been submitted, let alone approved by the board which will only sit in a few weeks time.”

Etihad has not fared well with another of its European airline investments, namely Air Berlin, in which it holds a 30 per cent stake.

As we reported (see Online news, September 29, 2016)

https://www.businesstraveller.com/business-travel/2016/09/29/air-berlin-downsize/

that carrier is also being downsized in a bid to cut mounting losses.

Alitalia.com

Airberlin.com

 

Alitalia resumes Rome–Beijing service

Alitalia tailfin

Alitalia has resumed non-stop flights between Rome and Beijing, following its cost-cutting decision to cancel the route back in 2013.

Since then, the airline has benefitted from a 49 per cent ownership stake by Etihad Airways, which has allowed it to restructure its business.

The Rome–Beijing route, which resumed last week, sees flight AZ790 depart Rome every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at 1420 and arrive in Beijing at 0620 the following day. The return flight, AZ791 then takes off from Beijing at 0915 before touching back down in Rome at 1425.

Flights are served by the A330-200, which features a three-class configuration with 20 seats in Magnifica (business), 17 in Classica Plus (premium economy) and 219 in Classica (economy). All cabin classes are equipped with wifi connectivity.

Passengers will also benefit from strong connection opportunities to Shanghai and Guangzhou, thanks to routes operated by fellow Skyteam partners China Eastern and China Southern.

“We are a different company than a few years ago: we have made major investments for enhancing products and services; we have put in place important commercial agreements with Chinese partners and we have a strong industrial partnership which supports us in this challenge,” said Alitalia chief executive Cramer Ball to Aviation Tribune.

“The new service to the Chinese capital city is an important investment for Alitalia as part of our strategic growth to serve long haul destinations for the benefit of business and leisure travellers. Italian exports to China will have the opportunity to rise, while the air link should encourage the number of tourists from the Far East to Italy.”

For more information, visit alitalia.com

Clement Huang