Italian flag carrier ITA Airways has confirmed it will take delivery of 39 new generation aircraft in 2023 to support plans to expand its intercontinental and international network.
The carrier’s fleet renewal plans – which include nine wide-body aircraft – will bring its total fleet to 96 aircraft and increase capacity in terms of available seat kilometres (ASK) by 73 per cent. On long-haul routes an increase of 107 per cent is expected compared to 2022, according to the carrier.
New routes will also be established, including direct flights from the carrier’s Rome Fiumicino hub to San Francisco and Washington, starting from the summer season, as well as a new direct service to Rio de Janeiro in November 2023.
As A321Neo aircraft enter the fleet, ITA Airways said it intends to launch new routes from Rome to Middle Eastern destinations such as Riyadh, Jeddah and Kuwait City.
In a statement ITA Airways, which was established in October 2021 after the collapse of legacy carrier Alitalia, said its fleet expansion represents “a further step forward”.
“Just over a year after the start of flight operations, ITA Airways demonstrates that it has kept its growth commitments for 2022 and has laid the foundations to expand its market presence,” the carrier said.
The expansion plans were announced this month as the carrier is set to receive €400 million in pandemic-related funding from the state. According to local news reports, a third and final cash injection of €250 million is expected in the first quarter of 2023, but as the newly-elected Meloni government looks to fortify the carrier’s financial position, the ministry of economy and finance (MEF) has reportedly recommenced negotiations to sell ITA Airways to German airline group Lufthansa.
The former Dragi government had previously entered “exclusive talks” with a consortium formed by Delta Airlines, Air France-KLM and US investment fund Certares, but according to a report by Il Corriere della Sera, the MEF recently allowed Lufthansa “inside ITA Airway’s data room” where talks of selling off a 65-70 per cent stake in the company are reportedly taking place.
The estimated transaction, according to Il Corriere della Sera, could be around €600 million (including the €250 million of capital funding), significantly less than Certares’ previous €1.95 billion offer.