Alitalia is shuttering operations and will no longer sell tickets for flights taking place after 15 October. All previously scheduled flights after that date have been cancelled, and ticketholders will be given the option of receiving a full refunded or rebooking to the same destination for an earlier date, the company has announced.
The end of Alitalia after 75 years as Italy's national flag carrier was widely expected after it was announced last month that new state-owned airline Italia Transporto Aereo would begin operations on 15 October. ITA will initially operate a fleet of 52 planes—seven wide-body and 45 narrow-body aircraft—with plans to add more planes later this year. Operating from home bases in Milan and Rome, the newly launched carrier will offer routes to 45 destinations, including Paris, London, Amsterdam, Brussels, Frankfurt and Geneva. Initial US destinations will be New York, Boston and Miami, with service to Washington and Los Angeles plotted for summer 2022.
After being plagued by financial difficulties for years, Alitalia entered bankruptcy proceedings in 2017 and courted prospective buyers including Delta and easyJet and Lufthansa. Ultimately however, the company was unable to find a suitor and the Italian government took full control of the carrier in 2020 as the Covid-19 pandemic hit Italy and brought demand for air travel to a near standstill.
News of Alitalia's impending closure comes on the same day that another financially troubled flag carrier, South African Airways, announced it would resume service next month after being grounded for nearly a year and a half.