Alitalia has unveiled its new strategy for growth following Etihad Airways' acquisition of a 49 percent stake in the airline.
The new company, which officially began operations January 1, has set a deadline to deliver profitability by 2017.
The new strategy includes a three-hub network in Italy. Milan Malpensa will increase long-haul services, while Milan Linate will increase connectivity with partner airline hubs. Rome Fiumicino will grow long-haul flying and continue to expand short and medium haul flying to maintain relevance to the Italian market.
Schedules across the network will be optimised to allow better connectivity, as well as increased codesharing with existing and new partners.
New routes from Rome include Berlin, Dusseldorf, San Francisco, Mexico City, Santiago (Chile), Beijing and Seoul, with increased flights to New York, Chicago, Rio de Janeiro and Abu Dhabi. Alitalia will also add 13 weekly flights from Milan Malpensa, with daily services to Abu Dhabi, four flights a week to Shanghai, and additional flights to Tokyo.
There will also be increased connectivity with Etihad Airways’ hub in Abu Dhabi, with daily services from Venice, Milan, Bologna and Catania, as well as additional flights from Rome, all allowing onward connections to the Middle East, Africa, the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, China and Australia. Venice will be the only Italian airport, in addition to Rome Fiumicino and Milan Malpensa, from which Alitalia will operate services to Abu Dhabi with long-haul aircraft.
While exploring further opportunities to deepen the relationships with Skyteam members and in particular Air France/KLM and Delta, there will be a major new partnership with airberlin & NIKI, as well as increased connectivity with Etihad Airways. There are also plans to work more deeply with Air Serbia and Etihad Regional.
Alitalia and Etihad will also explore ways to improve fleet efficiency. For example, Alitalia is in the process of relocating 14 Airbus A320s to airberlin, and looking into options with Etihad Airways to acquire additional wide-body aircraft for Alitalia. Alitalia will also have opportunities to receive aircraft from Etihad Airways’ existing fleet orderbook.
In terms of guest services, a new Customer Excellence Training Academy will deliver skills to all customer-facing staff. The airline will also add new food service options and new-look lounges in Rome, Milan Malpensa and Milan Linate.
Finally, Alitalia will launch a new brand and visual identity, covering aircraft, uniforms and all other customer touch-points. While the name will remain unchanged, the new branding will seek to capture and embody the essence of Italy.