ITA Airways says it has confirmed all its commitments for new aircraft for 2023 and will induct thirty Airbus narrowbodies and nine Airbus A330-900s into the fleet next year. The Italian carrier will grow its seat capacity/available seat kilometers (ASK) by 73 percent over 2022, it said today in an update of its planning schedule. ITA Airways on track to induct 39 new aircraft in 2023.

When it launched services on October 15, 2021, ITA Airways took over 56 Airbus aircraft from its predecessor Alitalia, including seven A319s, 31 A320s, and eight A330-200s. These older-generation aircraft will be gradually replaced by the ones that the airline has on the backlog with Airbus and Air Lease Corporation.

It ordered 31 aircraft from ALC, including fifteen A220-300s, two A320neo’s, nine A321neo’s, and five A330-900s. The first four A220s have been delivered to ITA Airways, with the first to enter service in mid-October. Another seven A220-300s, eleven A320neo’s, and ten A330-900s are on direct order from Airbus. In May, the carrier took delivery of six A350-900s that are leased from ALAFCO and AFS. Another ten A320neo’s and two A330-900s will be sourced from AerCap.

Once all deliveries for 2023 are complete, ITA’s fleet will have grown to 96 aircraft, although some older aircraft will be phased out. Fifty percent of the fleet will be new-generation aircraft.

The press release doesn’t specify how many aircraft will be joining from Airbus, AerCap or ALC, except for the A321neo’s that which has only ordered from Air Lease Corporation. The new type will be introduced on new routes out of Rome: “With the entry in fleet of the A321neo aircraft, ITA Airways will also plan the opening of new destinations in the Middle East: Riyadh, Jeddah, and Kuwait City, expanding its network and strengthening its connectivity through its Rome Fiumicino Hub.”  ITA will also launch services next year from Rome to Washington and San Francisco coming summer and to Rio de Janeiro from November.

More state aid received

ITA Airways received another €400 million in state aid this week, which is part of the original business plan that includes €1.35 billion in state support. CEO Fabio Lazzerini told AirInsight in October that this aid package wasn’t needed and that ITA had sufficient cash on hand, but Italian media reported that the airline would be short of cash going into the winter.

The future of ITA is still unclear. The previous Draghi Administration started exclusive negotiations with the consortium led by investor Certares and including Air France-KLM and Delta Air Lines, but exclusivity expired on October 31 without a final agreement. Since then, the new Meloni Administration has entered office, which has taken a far more critical stance against full privatization of the airline and seems to favor the previous bid from MSC Group and Lufthansa. Negotiations with the Swiss/German consortium could now be resumed.

ITA’s top management has seen a drastic reshuffle. After six managers already stepped back in March, President Alfredo Altavilla was ousted in October. On Monday evening, an independent member of the Board of Directors also left. The airline is now directed by Lazarrini, but a new Board will be elected next week.

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Active as journalist since 1987, starting with regional newspaper Zwolse Courant. Grand Prix reporter in 1997 at Dutch monthly Formule 1, general reporter Lelystad/Flevoland at De Stentor/Dagblad Flevoland, from 2002 until June 2021 radio/tv reporter/presentor with Omroep Flevoland.
Since mid-2016 freelance aviation journalist, since June 2021 fully dedicated to aviation. Reporter/editor AirInsight since December 2018. Contributor to Airliner World, Piloot & Vliegtuig. Twitter: @rschuur_aero.

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