ITA Airways plans to offer summer capacity some 24% higher year on year in 2024, with a particular focus on international expansion, as it awaits the European Commission’s ruling on a potential investment from Lufthansa Group.

Outlining its traffic and capacity performance on 5 February, the state-owned carrier said it handled 15 million passengers in 2023, a 50% rise year on year, on a load factor up five percentage points at 79%. ITA’s predecessor, Alitalia, handled 21 million passengers in its last full year of pre-Covid operation, 2019, also on a load factor of 79%.


Source: ITA Airways

ITA plans to operate 96 aircraft in 2024, including A320neos

Last year began with Lufthansa Group agreeing to acquire a minority stake in ITA, citing among other things, the “right-sizing” of the Italian flag carrier compared with the Alitalia operation. The European Commission said in January this year that it was launching an in-depth investigation into the deal, citing competition concerns.

As that process continues, ITA’s 24% capacity growth in 2024 will be driven by a 43% rise in intercontinental flying, a 30% increase on international routes and a 15% rise on domestic services, it says.

“Our growth goes hand in hand with the recovery of tourism, which is approaching pre-pandemic levels,” says ITA chief commercial officer Emiliana Limosani.

The carrier notes that it is launching long-haul flights from Rome Fiumicino to Chicago and Toronto this year, as well as new services to destinations in Africa and the Middle East.

ITA’s 56 destinations this summer comprise 16 domestic, 26 international and 14 intercontinental, it says. Alitalia served around 100 destinations in 2019.

The carrier plans to “gradually resume” flights to Tel Aviv in the summer season, it adds, after they were suspended last year amid security concerns relating to the Israel-Hamas conflict.

ITA expects to operate 96 aircraft in 2024, of which two-thirds are new-generation types. It began operations in 2021 with a fleet of 52 aircraft, operated around 80 jets last year and aims to fly 105 aircraft in 2025.

ITA’s current fleet features around 10 A220s, 50 A320-family jets – including some Neos – 14 A330s – half of which are Neos – and six A350-900s.

Among additions to its fleet in 2023, ITA received its first A321neo in November and its first A330neo in May.

The carrier is yet to release an earnings report for 2023.