Alitalia turns its engines off for good
Posted on 2021 Oct,14

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Alitalia has officially ceased operations and handed the baton to newcomer ITA Airways, which stands for Italian Air Transport.

Italy's national carrier Alitalia has had a rocky past full of financial struggles, employee strikes, and other damaging events, forcing it to make the decision to cease operations on October 15 after 74 years of service.

Liftoff wasn’t without minor turbulence, most notably some confusion over its name and branding. Just before officially launching service, ITA announced its €90 million (about $104 million) purchase for naming rights of its predecessor, which had been leading some industry insiders to speculate it would continue to operate under the Alitalia banner. It was first announced that ITA will use an Alitalia-branded plane. Flight attendants will wear Alitalia-branded uniforms. Signs at airports will all bear the name Alitalia.

But then, in a somewhat unexpected, but also very Alitalia twist, the new company now says it does not plan to use the branding in its operations going forward. Instead it will use the new ITA Airline name and a new livery with a blue fuselage and tri-color (green, red, and white) —a nod to the colors of the Italian flag—striping on the aircraft’s tail and engines. However, a total rebranding is still underway.

This is not the first time an airline bankruptcy concluded with a new flag carrier taking over from the old one. Swissair became Swiss International Airlines in 2002, for example. And Belgium’s SABENA became SN Brussels Airlines in 2001, which became just regular Brussels Airlines in 2007.

In both of those cases, however, there was at least an effort at changing the name, even if minor.