As Italian government proceeds with a restructuring of its long-bankrupt national carrier Alitalia, the company’s new CEO and president are named and plans for the future operations of the airline are laid out, including a purchase of the new aircraft.
By the decree by Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, signed on August 7, 2020, the new Alitalia is assigned 20 million euros as its capital, in addition to sanctioning 250 million of 3 billion euros already approved for the restructuring. One of the first priorities on which the money will be spent is acquisition of a new and efficient fleet capable of generating operational profit of at least 100 million euros, Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera reports.
The new Alitalia will shed old Airbus A320s, A319s, A321s, A330s and Boeing 777s that comprise its fleet in favor of brand new A320s for short haul and Boeing 787 Dreamliners for intercontinental routes. The aircraft are expected to be purchased with 50% discount.
The purchase was not confirmed by the airline, but Corriere della Sera cites four independent anonymous sources within the company, all claiming to be familiar with the plan. According to the sources, the talks with Boeing and Airbus’ sales departments are already underway, but agreements are not yet signed.
The talks are spearheaded by the new management of the company, as Conte’s decree named Alitalia’s former CBO Fabio Maria Lazzerini as the new CEO and Francesco Caio, who previously oversaw Italian oilfield services company SAIPEM, as the new director of the airline.
Their plan is to shrink the company’s operational costs by optimizing the fleet around fewer and newer aircraft models. A320s are selected because of their history with the airline and a potential to save on crew training costs; 787s were chosen at least partially because of the impact on the nation’s economy, as parts of the Dreamliner are manufactured in Italian plants.
The decision to renationalize Alitalia came in March 2020, after the hopes to find a buyer for Italia’s long-suffering airline collapsed in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic. The company has been bankrupt since May 2017, taking billions of euros in bailouts and burning through them as the potential buyers, one after another, declined to invest into the company.