The Italian government has approved the establishment of a new state-owned airline that will take over the assets of Alitalia. New airline ‘Alitalia ITA’ (Italia Trasporto Aereo) is scheduled to enter service early in 2021.

After giving the airline €600m in aid in March this year to help it survive the early effects of COVID-19, the Italian government announced a plan to renationalise Alitalia. Until then, the Italian government had been seeking a buyer for the carrier since 2017, when Etihad decided to pull its funding and relinquish its 49% stake in the airline.

Earlier this month, state-appointed Administrator of Alitalia, Giuseppe Leogrande, told the government the only way to keep the struggling airline alive would be the creation of a new state-controlled company, which would allow the state to save the carrier’s assets.

Italian media have reported that Alitalia has 7 000 workers left, currently on a ‘redundancy fund’. These staff have asked that the new airline include them in its strategy. However, their fate will be known only after the approval of the airline’s business plan by the EU.

Industry watchers report that the carrier is expected to be a full-service carrier (rather than a low-cost model). Italy’s Minister of Finance has said it will be a “solid and sustainable…quality carrier capable of competing on the international market”. Alitalia is currently a member of the SkyTeam alliance.