It is officially over. Italy’s flagship carrier, Alitalia, founded in May 1947, bowed out last night, after almost 75 years of operations and longstanding history.
Last night, at 11:22 pm, flight AZ 1586 from Cagliari (Sardinia) landed one last time on the runway at Fiumicino Airport in Rome, and Alitalia ceased to exist.
Aerolinee Italiane Internazionali first took off on 5 May 1947, on its inaugural flight from Turin to Rome and Catania. The carrier’s first intercontinental flight took place a year later, from Milan to South America.
Despite the sadness over the demise of the aviation giant, many Italians are also relieved to see an end to government spending, as the company cost more than €13 billion in the last twenty years.
In 2017, Alitalia declared bankruptcy, yet the state continued to resuscitate the company with government-backed loans (around €900 million), although the European Commission publicly expressed its disapproval.
As of this morning, Friday, October 15, a new airline will replace Alitalia. Italia Trasporto Aereo (ITA) currently employs only 2,800 of Alitalia’s 11,000 employees, owns 52 of the carrier’s 150 aircraft. and holds a small portion of Alitalia’s take-off and landing slots.
ITA will serve only 44 destinations starting today, but the company hopes to expand to 74 destinations by 2025.