The Italian government hopes it has ended years of financial turmoil at the newly nationalized flag carrier, which will receive a budget of EUR3 billion euros (USD3.4 billion) and a fleet of 100 aircraft, local media reported.
Francesco Caio, an executive with a background in telecoms and banking and who led the postal service Poste Italiane to an IPO (initial public offering) in 2015, has been named the company’s president. Fabio Lazzerini, a former general manager of Emirates (EK, Dubai Int’l) in Italy who has most recently been Alitalia’s chief business officer, is to take over as chief executive.
Shedding the old company name Alitalia-Sai, the newco has been named Alitalia-Tai.
“The newly designated board will be able to start working already, together with advisers from the Ministry of Finance, on the new industrial plan, which will then be sent to the European Commission,” the country’s prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, explained in a Facebook post.
The industrial plan must follow a set of government directives, which involve “pursuing a company strategy faithful to the principle of management affordability and fully oriented to sustaining competition within the complex challenges of the post-COVID-19 airline market,” Conte continued.
The new Alitalia will, according to transport minister Paola De Micheli, have “a plan that traces complete discontinuity with previous models, which will allow Italy to dispose of an airline company that can contribute to the economic recovery of the country, and above all to compete on the international air transport market.”
The business plan and its strategies are not publicly known, however, beyond the goal of breaking even in 2022 and making a profit in 2023.
Then there is the topic of redundancies. Unions remain skeptical about the risk of cuts in the workforce. The prediction is that 4,000 to 5,000 jobs will be lost.
European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager told the news agency ANSA on July 2 that the newly nationalized Alitalia must make a clean break with its past if it is to qualify for state support.
“The economic discontinuity must be real,” she said, and only after this “we will assess whether it is really a new business.”
In addition to old routes, some new ones have been added to the newco’s network including several from Rome Fiumicino, to Brindisi, Reggio di Calabria, and the islands of Lampedusa and Pantelleria. Alitalia has also resumed Milan Malpensa to Brindisi, as well as from both Milan and Rome to Bari.
Flights to major European cities also resume in July, for example to Amsterdam Schiphol and Paris CDG, both from Rome and Milan, as well as a route from Rome to Boston.