Alitalia’s Air One to suspend operations

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Alitalia will ground its low-cost short-haul subsidiary Air One this winter, with all non-seasonal routes being taken over by the mainline unit in October.

“Air One flights will stop, but we cannot say that Air One is being closed,” an Alitalia spokesperson tells Flightglobal.

“Some routes will go to Alitalia. The others are seasonal flights and would be closed for the winter anyway. We don’t yet know what will happen in the summer [2015] season.”

Air One’s upcoming winter season had included 12 domestic and six regional destinations, Flightglobal’s Innovata schedules show.

The overseas markets were Barcelona, Berlin, London, Paris, Prague and Tirana.

Alitalia strongly rejects local media reports suggesting that Etihad Airways demanded closure of Air One as a precondition of a recent €1.76 billion ($2.32 billion) investment in the Italian flag carrier.

“It’s not a consequence of the Etihad-Alitalia agreement,” insists the spokesperson. “It’s for sustainability reasons only. This was not one of the preconditions.”

When Etihad agreed to acquire 49% of Alitalia in August, Etihad chief executive James Hogan cited long-haul route development as a cornerstone of the Italian airline’s turnaround strategy.