On Thursday evening, the Alitalia airline will make its last flight after 74 years of history: it will depart from Cagliari at 10.05 pm and arrive at Rome Fiumicino airport at 11.10 pm. From Friday 15 October its place will be taken at least in part by Italia Trasporti Aereo (ITA), the new public company owned by the Ministry of Economy and Finance whose establishment came after a complex corporate restructuring operation designed with the goal of putting an end to the crisis in which Alitalia had been for thirty years. The inaugural flight of ITA, on Friday, will depart at 6.20 am from Milan Linate, bound for Bari.
However, the transition from Alitalia to ITA is far from peaceful: the new company will have fewer assets and manage fewer routes, and there are still numerous questions to be resolved regarding Alitalia’s employees and the many services offered by the old company, including other things.
The birth of ITA, in fact, was made possible by an agreement between the Italian government and the European Commission which provides that between the old company and the new there is a total “economic discontinuity”. This means that ITA had to start almost from scratch and obtain through public tenders the management of the old Alitalia’s services, such as maintenance, branding and ground services, but at the same time it means that ITA will not inherit the debts of the old company.
Despite the economic discontinuity, there are still many links between the two companies. Suffice it to say that the first ITA flight, from Milan Linate to Bari, will have the code AZ1637, where AZ is the acronym that has always identified Alitalia flights. The first flight will have a celebratory livery with the inscription “Born in 2021” (“Born in 2021”), but it is likely that all the other aircraft will have the same livery as the old Alitalia aircraft, as well as the uniforms of the ground staff of fly.
At the moment the Alitalia brand (i.e. the possibility of using its name and symbols) has not yet been purchased by the new company, but there is the possibility that this will happen in the next few hours.
ITA, he writes The sun 24 hours, submitted a binding offer of 90 million euros which was not accepted by the commissioners of Alitalia, who would have wanted much more, 290 million euros, in addition to VAT and tax charges. The European Commission had estimated a value of around 110 million for the brand. An agreement should be reached on Thursday, when the sale of part of the old company’s fleet to ITA, 52 Airbus aircraft (including 7 long-haul), will be finalized with the favorable opinion of the Alitalia supervisory committee.
No one had participated in the first tender to win the brand: Fabio Lazzerini, ITA’s CEO, commented by saying that «it seems to me that the market has shown that no one agreed on that value, since no one responded to the tender. [Alitalia] it is a historical brand, it is a well-known brand, with pros and cons, with a glorious history but also a history of some stumbling blocks, and all this must be considered ».
In addition to that of the brand, there are still other open questions for ITA.
First of all, the differences between the ITA managers and the unions on the contracts of the employees of the company: the unions ask for a collective agreement, that is, stipulated following a bargaining between the employers and the representatives of the employees and done in such a way as to cover all the workers , while ITA intends to proceed with the recruitment (of 2,800 people: Alitalia employees until a few months ago were more than 10 thousand) and start the business with a “company regulation”, which is instead usually formulated unilaterally by the employer work. According to the unions, ITA’s proposals envisage an average cut of about 38 per cent of salaries compared to Alitalia, from which most of the workers of the new company should flow.
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Other issues still under discussion are that of ticket refunds and that of the “Mille Miglia” loyalty program. As for the tickets, according to sources from the Corriere della Sera, Alitalia would have already sold at least 255 thousand for flights after 15 October: given that, due to the discontinuity already mentioned, the flights cannot be operated by ITA, the tickets must be refunded or re-protected (i.e. replaced with other tickets, obviously of another company). For this purpose, the government has allocated 100 million euros for 2021, but at the moment it is not possible to say with certainty whether this amount will be enough for reimbursements and re-routing.
Then there is the theme of 6.1 million subscribers to “Mille Miglia”, the loyalty program with which Alitalia passengers accumulated “miles” (a sort of points) for each flight they purchased and could then spend them by obtaining tickets. free, class upgrades on purchased flights and exclusive services. The program belongs to the Alitalia Loyalty company, which is owned by Alitalia and will have to be auctioned when it stops operating (moreover, it is the only company in the group to be profitable).
But, according to the agreement between the government and the European Commission, ITA will not be able to participate in the tender to obtain it, and has therefore already announced that it will launch its own loyalty program. This means that the miles accumulated so far by members of the program will not be used to obtain services from the new company. The Corriere della Sera he writes that sources of ITA «leaked that we are thinking about a way to keep him alive [il programma Mille Miglia, ndr] even after the stop of Alitalia ».
It is possible that Alitalia Loyalty will be purchased by another company, which has nothing to do with the airline sector, which enters into a partnership with ITA to allow you to use the miles on the flights of the new airline. This would guarantee to maintain the discontinuity between the old and the new company and not to lose the points accumulated by Alitalia’s customers.
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