(CNN) — They’ve long dominated the food and fashion worlds; this, they’ve dominated sports and are aiming for the skies. Italy’s new national airline, ITA Airways, launched on Friday with a promise to to its national flag carrier after Alitalia, Italy’s legacy airline, went bankrupt and ceased operations a day earlier. Executives unveiled plans for the new network, airplanes, staffing, and livery at a live-streamed from Rome. The first thing to know: everything will be 100 percent Italiano. The new ITA Airways planes will be colored sky-blue, with staff Italian designers. High-class Italian firms will dress interiors and airport lounges; even the cars and minibusses used to move around the grounds will be Italian. “We have been born as a new Italian brand, and we have chosen to work only with Italian companies,” said Alfredo Altavilla, president of ITA Airways.
Riding high on sporting triumph
The sky-blue livery, complete with green, red, and white tricolor stripes of the Italian flag on the tail and the engines, is a homage to the Azzurri, Italy’s national sports teams(“Azzurro”) strips during competitions. The Azzurri have, of course, done phenomenally well this year, with the soccer the UEFA European championships and 40 medals at the Tokyo Summer Olympics. Italian Matteo Berrettini was the runner-up in the Wimbledon tennis final.
In response to CNN’s question about staff uniforms, Chief Marketing Officer Giovanni Petrosino said that although nothing has been announced, the airline is in talks with “an essential Italian brand” about possibly designing them. That, according to Altavilla, is the positiveto the skies after the failure of Alitalia. “Today is the first day of a history that has yet to be written,” he said. “The new branding and the new livery of our planes symbolize that change, of the start of a new adventure.”
“We want to give our clients an Italian experience, and when you think of contemporary Italy, it’s rich and complex,” he said. “So our dream is to partner with companies from various disciplines, from the food to the styling of the aircraft, to the uniforms and furniture in the lounges. Our vision is to use globally important Italian brands. It’s our wish, but we’re already talking with big brands.” In the meantime, they will keep using the Alitalia uniforms and livery, although they expect the planes to start being repainted within the first few months. The decision is partly to save money, he said.
Alitalia no more
Alfredo Altavilla, president of ITA Airways, at the airline launch. Handout/ITA Airways. The news that the company would keep its original name of ITA Airways surprised many who assumed it would want to keep the Alitalia brand going. It admitted plans to acquire the Alitalia brand name in documents filed to the US Department of Transport to request permission to fly there. The night before the airline, it was announced that it had bought the Alitalia name for €90 million ($104 million), leading many to speculate that the new airline would, essentially, be the old one. However, Francavilla said there had never been any question of branding the airline as Alitalia. “In my head, it’s always been ITA Airways,” he said. “But we were always clear not just that we wanted to buy the Alitalia brand but needed to. Not least for marketing reasons — the Italian brand couldn’t belong to anyone else except the national flag carrier.”
A more efficient fleet
Alitalia was drowning in debt forbefore the pandemic, but Francavilla said the future is bright for ITA, calling the airline “right-sized” regarding fleet, staffing, and routing. Its plan It plans a fleet of new Airbuses, which are both more efficient and less damaging to the environment. The first new jets will enter the fleet in early 2022, and by late 2025, it says that 70% of the fleet will be new-generation aircraft. It plans to start with 52 and increase to 105 by 2025.