Alitalia could be poised to order as many as 15 turboprop aircraft as the mainline carrier looks to cut its fuel bill on shorter domestic or regional sectors.
The revelation that the SkyTeam carrier is considering switching from jets on certain routes is contained in the latest newsletter from turboprop manufacturer ATR. The Franco-Italian airframer says it "believes Alitalia could require up to 15 turboprops over the next three years to replace thirsty planes on regional routes".
It says the turboprops are likely to be used to link Rome Fiumicino with destinations such as Naples, Bolzano and the Italian islands. However, it may also employ the aircraft on international routes as well. "Alitalia is also weighing up using the ATR on short European sectors including between Nice and Rome," says ATR.
Alitalia has recently begun using ATR 72-500s wet-leased from Romanian carrier Carpatair to link Ancona and Pisa to Rome Fiumicino.
The airline could not immediately be reached for comment.