What Planes Could Alitalia’s Replacement Fly?

In a matter of months, Italian carrier Alitalia will reemerge as a whole new airline- its name yet to be determined. While this new airline’s fleet will be composed of aircraft from the old outfit, it’s possible we’ll see new jets come in 2022. Let’s take a look at what might be on the table for ‘the new Alitalia.’

Alitalia Airbus A330-202 EI-EJK
The future replacement for Alitalia is already looking to place orders for new aircraft. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Already looking to place orders for future aircraft

There is some exciting news coming in from Italian media familiar with the relaunch of the Italian airline. Newspaper Corriere Della Sera is reporting that the new airline, which is currently being managed under the name ITA (Italia Trasporto Aereo), is looking to purchase $5.3 billion in new aircraft, which would come from either Airbus or Boeing.

While no final decision has been made, the media outlet notes, however, that Airbus is “ahead” in this bidding process, with a plan to supply 81 next-generation aircraft over the next four years. The information is said to come from three industry sources familiar with the situation.

While some airlines might be okay having a diverse fleet with jets from both manufacturers, an internal memo says ITA wants to “eliminate the complexity and inefficiencies deriving from operating aircraft from different manufacturers.”

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Information leaks suggest that Airbus will be the preferred supplier of the airline’s future aircraft. Photo: Airbus

 

Out with the old, in with the new

It’s being reported that the airline will first launch using 52 of Alitalia’s existing jets. This fleet of 84 aircraft currently consists of dozens of Airbus narrowbodies, as well as Airbus A330s and Boeing 777s- of which there are 11 each.

Due to the significant backlogs held by both Airbus and Boeing, it looks like the new airline’s jets will be acquired through leases. And, while indications are that Airbus jets will come out on top, it’s been said that a very lucrative counter-proposal from Boeing could turn the tables- something reportedly in the 60-70% discount range complete with a guaranteed maintenance period and the coverage of training costs.

To us, this source information seems possibly contradictory, as we’re not sure how much control the planemakers have in offering discounts through lessors. We know that Airbus has an asset management division, and Boeing has its Boeing Capital Corporation to lease assets. However, both of these entities tend to deal with older aircraft.

It looks like the new aircraft will come next year, with a memo saying:

“From 2022, the introduction of new generation aircraft is expected to begin, which will progressively replace old technology aircraft” -ITA memo via Corriere Della Sera

In addition to modernizing its fleet, the new carrier will increase its aircraft count to 105 by 2025. As mentioned, 81 of these will be next-generation jets.

A220 100 A220 300 Inflight
The A220 could be a future part of the airline’s operations. Photo: Airbus

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Have numbers already been decided?

The confidential sources, reporting through the Italian media, already have a potential fleet plan. The airline’s future composition may be as follows:

  • 12 Airbus A220-300s
  • 40 Airbus A320neo
  • Five A321neos
  • 23 A330-900 or A350-900

Sources say that the new airline must decide within the year which aircraft it wants from Airbus. This includes specific configurations, which must be decided by the third quarter of 2022.

When asked about the possible deal, Airbus told CorriereNegotiations with all our customers are confidential, we cannot comment on the rumors.” Meanwhile, Boeing also told the outlet that discussions are confidential. However, it added that “Alitalia is an important long-term customer for us…we are in constant dialogue on the future needs of the airline’s fleet.”

Given Boeing’s current situation with a number of its programs, the US planemaker could use a big win from this future full-service carrier. However, if the reported rumors are to be trusted, it looks like Airbus maintains the upper hand.

What’s your reaction to this information? How would you structure the airline’s new fleet? Let us know in the comments.


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