Alitalia & Etihad Major Announcements – New Routes, Partners, Livery, Uniforms, Fleet Sharing

Etihad had a press conference in Abu Dhabi today to discuss the “strategy for the new Alitalia”.  Rumors on a potential SkyTeam exit flew this weekend as Etihad and Alitalia representatives met with Air France-KLM and Delta in secret. Well, it appears the JV and  SkyTeam membership are in-tact for now, both specifically called out during the press conference.  What was announced was a new 3 hub strategy, long-haul route changes, greatly increased connectivity with AUH, a new partnership with Air Berlin, potential wide-body fleet changes,”new looks” for lounges in Rome and Milan, and a new livery and uniforms. Here are some of the highlights:

Network

  • A new three-hub strategy 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.

Cooperation
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. These partnerships will increase customer choice across many markets.

Fleet
Alitalia and Etihad Airways and its partners are exploring opportunities to improve jointly 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.

Guest Services
A new customer-first culture, with new product and service standards across the airline.  A new Customer Excellence Training Academy will deliver skills to all customer-facing staff, while customers will experience traditional Italian hospitality, new food service options, new-look lounges in Rome, Milan Malpensa and Milan Linate.

Brand
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.

You can check out all the comments by the executives and the full press release here.

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