Alitalia has unveiled a conservative new livery as part of a relaunch event for the airline following investment by Middle Eastern shareholder Etihad Airways.
The new colour scheme departs little from the previous livery – it retains the characteristic stylised ‘A’ logo on the fin, with the green and red extended over the tail cone.
Alitalia has dispensed with the green cheatline below the windows, keeping only the airline’s brand name, in a slightly revised form, on an otherwise ivory-white fuselage.
Chief executive Silvano Cassano told the audience at the event in Rome – as the livery was unveiled on an Airbus A330-200 – that the jet would start operating the carrier’s new service concepts from the Italian capital on 5 June.
Alitalia is bringing in a refurbishment across all cabins, and its products will include enhanced in-flight entertainment, wi-fi, and LiveTV.
All widebody aircraft will be transformed by mid-2016, says Cassano, while the narrowbody fleet will be completed by mid-2017.
Etihad Airways chief executive James Hogan said that the Abu Dhabi-based carrier – which has a 49% share of Alitalia – was “committed to rebuild” the Italian airline.
He said that Etihad had overseen a 13% cut in Alitalia’s narrowbody fleet while the widebody fleet had increased by 32%.
“We have the orderbook to bring more aircraft into Alitalia when needed,” he added. The A330 in the new colour scheme (I-EJGA) is MSN825, which was formerly part of the Etihad fleet.
The Rome long-haul network is set to increase from 87 weekly flights to 113 by mid-2018, with new routes including Beijing, Seoul, Shanghai, Mexico City, Santiago and San Francisco being introduced over the next three years.
Weekly long-haul connections from Milan will double to 25 in the same period.
“Alitalia can be one of the best airlines in Europe and the world,” said Hogan. “But the focus on cost, productivity and how we generate revenue is fundamental.”
Hogan said there was an “opportunity” to turn the carrier into a stable and healthy operation. But he cautioned that the chance must be seized by the airline’s management and personnel.
“The challenge is in your hands,” he told the audience.
“We don’t come to Alitalia telling you how to run an airline – you know how to run an airline,” he added. “We come to Alitalia to work as a partner, so both our businesses grow.”