ITA, the brand new Italian national carrier, has received the go-ahead to fly by the Italian civil aviation authority, ENAC – Ente Nazionale Aviazione Civile. The NewCo will take to the skies as of October 16th, the day after Alitalia’s retirement. Read on to understand what will happen to those who have bought Alitalia tickets for flights scheduled after October 15th and those who are members of Alitalia’s loyalty programme, MilleMiglia.
In the last few days, ITA received the Air Operator Certificate (AOC) from the Italian civil aviation authority, ENAC, which means NewCo is finally ready to fly. Not only is this certificate necessary to operate flights, but it is also essential to sell tickets. However, with Alitalia’s last days in sight, the NewCo will start operations in turbulent weather.
NewCo will first have to deal with the 255,000 passengers who already hold an Alitalia ticket for flights scheduled to depart after October 15th. There have been talks about redirecting those passengers to flights operated by other airlines. However, this is still not a concrete solution. Given that the Italian Ministry of Economics and Finance owns NewCo, it is highly likely that the government will play an essential role in solving this issue. Indeed, the state has already designated a 100 million euro fund to refund those passengers holding an invalid Alitalia ticket.
As far as ITA tickets are concerned, NewCo does not have its own website yet. However, a provisional version of the new website has already been announced. Here, passengers will be able to buy tickets for the 45 destinations ITA will initially fly to.
It’s maybe hard to believe, but Alitalia’s loyalty programme is the only profitable branch of the Italian national carrier. With over 6 million customers, the MilleMiglia programme registered a positive turnover of 4 million euros in 2020. Of course, MilleMiglia customers can still use their points for Alitalia flights scheduled to depart before October 15th.
Alternatively, members can convert such points to tickets from one of the other 18 airline members of the Skyteam loyalty programme, of which Alitalia is a partner. After the retirement date, Alitalia Loyalty, the branch which manages the loyalty programme, will be sold with a public tender, to which ITA is not allowed to take part. The buyer could potentially be an operator of another industry, in which case such an operator could transform MilleMiglia points into vouchers for its products.
ITA will take off with just 52 planes and approximately 3000 employees. However, the new management plans to take part in the public tenders to buy the Alitalia branches related to handling, where ITA could be the majority shareholder and maintenance. If everything goes according to this plan, ITA could count 105 aircraft by 2025, with approximately 9500 employees. The operational breakeven is expected for the second half of 2023.
What do you think of the future of Alitalia’s loyalty programme? Let us know in the comments below.