What’s The Destiny of Alitalia’s Brand?

by Giacomo Amati
Alitalia A319 moments before landing. Photo by Kambui

ITA – Italia Trasporto Aereo – is getting ready to take to the skies. But will the newly borne Italian flag carrier inherit the well-known Alitalia brand?

Discontinuity means no direct transfer of the Alitalia brand

The EU Commission has always underlined the importance of discontinuity between the new Italian national airline and Alitalia. Therefore, ITA will not automatically inherit Alitalia’s brand. Instead, ITA will have to take part in a public tender to purchase the tricoloured A.

The public tender must be “opened, transparent and not discriminatory,” according to the principles set by the EU Commission in the negotiation with the Italian government, which led on July 15th to the deal for the launch of the new carrier. However, Alitalia’s commissioners still have a long way to go. Indeed, ITA is not yet an airline; before it becomes one, the competent authorities will have to revoke Alitalia’s Air Operator Certificate (AOC), which will then be assigned to the new airline, ITA.

Who will be in charge of the public tenders?

Alitalia’s commissioners, Giuseppe Leogrande, Gabriele Fava, and Daniele Santosuosso, will have the heavy responsibility of setting up the public tenders for the brand, handling (3 thousand employees) and maintenance (1 thousand employees).

According to some sources, the tender for the brand should be prepared as soon as possible. Indeed, ITA considers the Alitalia brand essential for its start in October. The statement of the board of directors dated July 15th reads:

The Alitalia brand will be sold through a public tender, launched and managed by Alitalia in extraordinary administration, in which Ita will participate as it considers the brand essential to the implementation of the industrial plan.

Some aspects that need to be defined are the conditions required to take part in the tender, such as the company’s nature, which will probably need to be an airline, and its characteristics, dimensions, and range of action. 

Not only ITA, but other Italian and foreign competitors will have the chance to take part in the tender. A few days ago, Ryanair made public that it is interested in buying Alitalia’s brand to add it to its activities. Before that, Ryanair’s CEO, Eddie Wilson, stated that the Irish low-cost carrier (LCC) was ready to re-protect Alitalia’s passengers who had bought tickets for a flight after 15th October, the day Alitalia will cease operations for good. Last but not least, Ryanair could be one of the airlines that will take advantage of the slots Alitalia will give up in October.

Ryanair at stand in Athens. Photo by Markus Winkler

How much is the Alitalia brand worth?

According to Leogrande, Alitalia’s brand is worth € 150 million. Therefore, the brand should not be sold for less; however, if more than one airline was interested in buying it, its price could increase. Leogrande is said to be willing to weigh the price of Alitalia’s brand according to the number of slots ITA will inherit from the Italian flag carrier. Moreover, not until ITA has bought Alitalia’s brand will it be able to use Alitalia’s internet domain.

The only branch ITA will buy directly from the commissioners with a direct negotiation is the aviation branch, which is said to be worth approximately € 400 million.

Do you think ITA will manage to buy Alitalia’s brand in the end? Let us know in the comments below! 

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