Airplanes. Alitalia story. May 1947: first domestic flight. May 2017: administration and soon sale
Rome, Italy - From debut as of today, a flight long 70 years. A reality that starts towards sunset, painful for all
It seems almost a joke: Alitalia in one of crisis -many actually- more difficult of its history, exactly in the year of its 70th birthday and in the days that mark the beginning of its operativeness. And soon, if there will be the conditions and the purchasers, it will be sold probably to the foreign hands that will have still desire to invest in Italy after the sad experience by Etihad. We like to remind it so. Alitalia–Linee Aeree Italiane SpA was established on 16 September 1946 as Aerolinee Italiane Internazionali. It was formed as a result of an Anglo-Italian agreement and was funded by the Italian Government and British European Airways (BEA) in a 60/40 share arrangement with a capital of 900 million lire (£1,000,000). Its popular name, Alitalia, blended the Italian words ali (wings) and Italia (Italy). It started operations on 5 May 1947, in which year it carried over 10,000 passengers. The inaugural flight was with a Fiat G-12 "Alcione" aircraft, piloted by Virginio Reinero from Turin to Catania and Rome. On July 6 of the same year the Savoia Marchetti SM-95 "Marco Polo" made the first international connection from Rome to Oslo, with 38 Norwegian sailors on board. In March of 1948 the first intercontinental route was inaugurated by a Lancastrian, a 36 hour flight (Milan, Rome, Dakar, Natal, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paolo, Buenos Aires). The Savoia-Marchetti SM-95 four engined airliner was used on European routes up to 1949. We like to remind it at that time of its brightness. Through period images. Or in the video of the "Istituo Luce" how it was when from its airplanes then modern famous political, Italian stars of the Hollywood cinema disembarked. We like remind it through beautiful uniforms of the crew staff, that marked time with the fashion of the time. Airplanes and particular liveries Aircraft with the names of aviators Alberto Nassetti, B-767, registration I-DEIC. Arturo Ferrarin, B-767 I-DEIL and earlier B-747 I-DEME. Roberto Pau (Eurofly's captain dead in 1998), B-767 EI-CTW. Carlo Del Prete, B-747 I-DEMB. Domenico Colapietro, A-321 I-BIXQ. Francesco Agello, B-767 I-DEIG. Francesco De Pinedo (Italian aviator 1890-1933), B-767 EI-CRO and previously B-747 I-DEMO. Geo Chavez, B-747 I-DEMU. Neil Armstrong, the first B-747 I-DEMA. Pier Paolo Racchetti, B-767 I-DEIB. Special liveries: In 1997, MD-80 I-DACP adopted the hybrid livery similar to that of ATI. In 1997, MD-80 I-DAVZ adopted the hybrid livery similar to that of ATI. Between 1997 and 1999, B-747 I-DEMF that operated on the Rome-New York route, adopted the special advertising livery "Baci Perugina". Between 1998 and 2000, B-747 I-DEMS adopted the special advertising livery as "Bulgari", in which an Alluminum watch was represented. In 2000, MD-80 I-DACP adopted the special livery as "Renault Scenic". In 2000, MD-80 I-DAVZ adopted the special livery as "McDonald's". Between 2003 and 2006, ERJ-145 I-EXML adopted the special livery as 700th. Presidents Giuseppe De Michelis (years 1946-48) Nicolò Carandini (1948-68) Bruno Velani (1968-74) Giorgio Tupini (1974-78) Umberto Nordio (1978-88) Carlo Verri (1988-89) Michele Principe (1990-94) Renato Riverso (1994-96) Fausto Cereti (1996-03) Giuseppe Bonomi (2003-04) Giancarlo Cimoli (2004-07) Berardino Libonati (2007-07) Maurizio Prato (2007-08) Aristide Police (2008-08) CEOs Bruno Velani (1964-69) Cesare Romiti (1969-73) Umberto Nordio (1973-79) Maurizio Maspes and Luciano Sartoretti (1979-89) Giovanni Bisignani (1989-94) Roberto Schisano (1994-95) Domenico Cempella (1996-01) Francesco Mengozzi (2001-04) Marco Zanichelli (2004-04) Giancarlo Cimoli (2004-07) Managing directors Lugi Acampora (1946-53) Bruno Velani (1953-64) Donato Saracino (1964-70) Cesare Romiti (1970-72) Umberto Nordio (1972-1978) Enrico Pacchiarotti (1979-1990) Ferruccio Pavolini (1989-95) Giovanni Sebastiani (1996-01) Marco Zanichelli (2003-04). The SAI arrival The current company arrives in 2014. CAI (Compagnia aerea italiana) is established through Midco SpA. It has a 51% of capital of the new born (and today) Alitalia-SAI (Società aerea italiana SpA). The remaining 49% purchased by Etihad Airways (Etihad Equity Alliance). On January 1, 2015 the "new" Alitalia on which are based on many -false- hopes becomes operative making first link New York-Malpensa. It's all downhill from here the steps come in succession are disastrous: - in May it was announced that will not renew partnership, and the joint-venture agreements with Air France-KLM Group at the deadline happened in January of this year. The partnership predicted the sale and the distribution of the belly cargo service (goods transported in the hold of passenger airplanes) of Alitalia in management to Air France-KLM, the transfer of slots on Linate, the feeder service on hubs in Paris and Amsterdam. - in June 2015 the presentation of its new identity of the carrier, including a new livery for the airplanes. - The first six month period of the year closed with a net result (EUR -130 million), evaluating about EUR 80 million the damage caused by the fire at the Rome-Fiumicino airport. The load factor at 75% in the period, with 10,3 million of passengers transported. - On July 30 the company issues a bond for worth of EUR 375 million with a five year deadline. - The company closed 2015 with losses for EUR 199 million, improving compared to those one for 580 m recorded the previous year. The management confirms then the target to obtain a profit within 2017. - In 2016 the losses arrive to touch about EUR 600 million. - April 2017: the disastrous balance sheet, to avoid the failure a pre-agreement is signed between unions and management that predicts 980 redundancies, cut of the salaries of 8% and decrease of the time offs. Such agreement is submitted to the Alitalia staff through a referendum: the agreement is rejected with 67% of NO. - May 2, 2017: the shareholders meeting with the result of the referendum that has "closed the door on" the relaunch plan implementation and reorganization of the carroer. The BoD gathered at the end of the assembly considered of the severe economic, patrimonial and financial situation of the company, without shareholders' support and of the impracticality in short times of different solutions, decided unanimously to present file of adhesion to the procedure of extraordinary administration according to the law. - The Economic development Ministry chooses three commissioners (Luigi Gubitosi, Enrico Laghi and Stefano Paleari) to manage the extraordinary administration of Alitalia. In the same context after the green light by EU (with condition that a sale, Calenda minister specified) a bridging loan (EUR 600 million) is released for a 6 month duration, that brings to the airline's debt to EUR 8 billions in "State aid". In any case it finishes, a new page turns on an essential tile of the Italian aviation. Definitively, because a momentous change already had when Alitalia can't be defined flag carrier. But in the skies of the world it has continued to represent the Country, even in the Papal journeys. To that livery changed in the later time, to that tricolour flag impressed on the fuselages are connected many of sequence of events. The decline of today is sad, and it is a defeat for all. For the managements followed, for the Governments that have given confidence, for the members that have believed in it, for the unions in particular in these last phases. And mainly for the employees that now see to an undefined future. An adventure long 70 years. Today to the sunset of a flight that sees it to go under in a sea consisted of incompetence, indifference and an inappropriate management. It's a pity...
© World Aeronautical Press Agency Srl