End of an Era for Alitalia

End of an Era for Alitalia

Alitalia Airlines, one of the biggest international brand names out of Europe and Italy’s national airline for 75 years, stopped taking reservations on Tuesday night and plans to shutter on October 15.

The news has been known for a while as Alitalia has struggled financially for decades, and was put into state administration in 2017.


The Italian government has created a fund of 100 million euros to reimburse customers of the airline. It comes after the country agreed to a bailout deal with the European Union to create a new debt-free company that would take over Alitalia’s assets.

The new national airline will be known as ITA (Italia Trasporto Aereo) which will start selling tickets beginning August 26 and will start flying on October 15.

According to Euronews, ITA will buy 52 of Alitalia’s aircraft alongside its airport slots and other assets. It plans to operate flights to destinations including New York, Boston, Miami, Tokyo and numerous European cities from airports in Rome and Milan. There are plans for the airline to slowly grow its fleet to 105 planes by 2025.

Alitalia was created on September 16, 1946, but didn’t become more well-known worldwide until 1963 when it became the de facto airline of choice for the Papacy in Rome. That’s when Pope Paul VI began his 15-year tenure as the head of the Catholic Church and began taking his message far beyond the Vatican.

All totaled, in almost 58 years, Alitalia has taken four popes to 171 different countries.

Paul VI took nine international trips with Alitalia. Pope Saint John Paul II took a total of 104 international trips with the airline. His successor, Pope Benedict XVI, took 24 trips with Alitalia, while current Pope Francis has so far taken 33 with the airline, with the 34th trip to Hungary and Slovakia planned for Sept. 12-15.

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