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Alitalia Airlines

By Tom Martens

Alitalia Airlines is headquartered in Rome, Italy and is the 19th largest airline in the world. Its main hub is at Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport in Rome. Alitalia Airlines serves 24 domestic and 66 international destinations. Alitalia?s top 12 flights originate from Rome. It is a member of the Sky Team Alliance, one of the top airline alliance programs in the world, and offers a frequent flyer program called MileMiglia. Members earn miles by flying on Alitalia or its partner airlines, including the airlines that form the Sky Team Alliance.

The very first Alitalia flight took place just a year after the end of World War II, in 1946, originating in Turin and arriving in Rome via Catania. The carrier’s first international flight was in 1947, taking passengers from Milan to South America. Alitalia’s present fleet primarily consists of Boeing and Airbus aircraft, as the company makes strategic changes to expand its international presence after bankruptcy and merger.

Like many other airlines, Alitalia has faced financial challenges almost continuously since its inception, with just one profitable year, 1998. Its most serious financial issues were due to problems with labor issues and government interference. The Italian national government stopped subsidies in 2006, and the airline declared bankruptcy in 2008. The airline then became a private company when Air France-KLM acquired a 25 per cent stake in the airline from the Italian government.

The ?new? Alitalia Airlines merged with Air One, which operates a high-frequency scheduled network to 36 destinations in Italy, Europe and North America. Air One?s main hubs are located in Rome, Milan and Turin. The airlines are partnered under a consortium called Compagnia Aerea Italiana (CAI), which finalized its purchase of the two airlines in December 2008.

Prime Minister Berlusconi had called for the formation of the consortium, which derives its investment capital from wealthy Italian entrepreneurs and banks. The consortium assumed Alitalia’s debts, which led to public questions as to how much the Alitalia sale was subsidized by taxpayers. The new company was formed with a capital of 1 billion euro, and promised a five-year plan to bring the new airline to profitability by 2010. Over 12,000 workers of the “old” Alitalia kept their jobs in the merger, but another 3,250 jobs were eliminated.

Alitalia officials anticipate that the 25 per cent minority stake held by Air France-KLM will help the new company to achieve its goals of profitability and expanded presence in the international market. The new partnership is a good deal for the flying public, as the chances to earn and spend frequent flier miles through MileMiglia are greatly expanded.

One well-known service of Alitalia has been continued by Air One. The airline continues to charter “Shepherd One,” the official airline for the Pope. Alitalia continues to provide charters for a well-known jet nicknamed “Shepherd One,” used by the Holy Father whenever he leaves the Vatican on flights around the world. The new consortium is expected to continue to provide Shepherd One.

Tom Martens is the content syndication coordinator for South Arica?s leading Flight comparison & Booking portal, which includes Alitalia Airlines amongst others.

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Martens, Tom "Alitalia Airlines." Alitalia Airlines. 25 Feb. 2009. 25 Sep 2014 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Martens, T (2009, February 25). Alitalia Airlines. Retrieved September 25, 2014, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Martens, Tom "Alitalia Airlines"

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