Alitalia to get new business class, become 'five star airline'

By David Flynn, May 2 2015
Alitalia to get new business class, become 'five star airline'

IN BRIEF | Alitalia's new CEO is on a mission to transform the ailing carrier into a 'five star airline' complete with all-new business class seating and inflight Internet in all aircraft by 2017.

Also on the menu will be better food, an overhaul of its fleet – beginning with two Airbus A330s in June, followed by a clutch of Boeing 777-200ER and -300ER jets – and possibly a new-look livery.

"Alitalia can only thrive as a five-star airline,"  Silvano Cassano tells Bloomberg as he charts the challenges ahead.

"Consumers are saying: give us an excuse to come back to you. They want the love affair to start again."

Much of that love will be fuelled by Etihad Airways, which in January this year handed over €560 million (A$790 million) for a  49% stake in Alitalia.

Read: Alitalia to launch new branding, uniforms and livery with Etihad

It's not the first attempted rescue for the airline, which Bloomberg notes "has been unprofitable for almost two decades" – since 2008 a staggering €4.5 billion has been injected into Alitalia without turning back a rising tide of red ink.

Bloomberg reports that Cassano expects to invest some €350 million "toward a complete overhaul of the fleet," beginning with two new Airbus A330s in June.

Also in the works: a codeshare agreement with a Chinese airline and flights from more Italian cities to Abu Dhabi, to tap into Etihad's own international network.

Read more: Alitalia CEO Wants 5-Star Airline With Flair Backed by Etihad

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David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Delta Air Lines - SkyMiles

14 Apr 2013

Total posts 327

Maybe they sould consider MAS B777-200ER's that are for sale/lease. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 May 2012

Total posts 580

They really should invest in renovating their lounges at FCO and MXP, which are currently some of the worst maintained in Europe.

Onboard, they really are pretty decent. Sure, not as competitive as BA or Lufthansa but perfectly comfortable.


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 May 2011

Total posts 732

I actually rate their lates business class, both in terms of soft and hard product higher than BA and LH Business.  Fully flat seats (similar to EY), great food, proper blanket and Bulgari / sometimes Salvatore Ferragoma amenity kit.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 May 2014

Total posts 112

The first European airline to install an Australian style intra-Europe business class will start to clean up - I have heard rumours that Etihad has that in mind for it's recently acquired European brands.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

31 Jan 2014

Total posts 21

I travelled on them in January. It was by far the worst airline I have ever travelled on. I boarded the plane and this musty stench hit me in the face. Then I took a look around to a sea of old greyish ("ish" only because they were partly brown from years of dirt caked on) leather benches. The bathroom even had mould! 

Let's hope Etihad can totally reimagine flying with Alitalia.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Sep 2012

Total posts 240

I flew them last year a lot in Europe and they were just fine. No worse than BA or LH in terms of aircraft comfort or reliability.

04 May 2015

Total posts 5

Ha ha ha... Alitalia... Ciao Bella Spaghetti Pasta Versace Pizza... Arrivederci...

They wish to do so... Just it doesn't work at all with the company's philosophies, striking all the time, heavy 'union' control, almost non-existence CS, non- to bad English knowledge, unpunctuality, bad airport handling, very old lounge both in FCO and MXP etc etc...

Tutto bene... Tagliatelle Gnocchi Buena Sera Alitalia....

05 Jun 2014

Total posts 1

AZ have come a long way and if the experience from my last 6 flights between FCO and GIG and GRU are anything to judge by:

-Staff seem to have a spring in their step in C/CL and in their lounges and premium check in/ transfer desks. Inside their long haul lounges (which are in dire need of refurb) their is a huge amount of airline service staff out on the floor to help you for any airline or lounge need you may have, constantly smiling and interacting with you. On board staff remember familiar faces and will stop to chat. Like any european airline they have a few grumpy loosers amongst them but they usually work down the back.

-Hard product on 330 C/CL is very good. Seats very comfortable. F&B generally excellent in C/CL but their idea of breakfast needs some work. Personally prefer it more than LH/AF/BA and maybe, just maybe even LX,  as it feels more 'First Class' than 'business'. IFE could be broader however.

-Y/CL is Y/CL but I find AF/LX to be much better on this front. Short haul Y/CL could be more like KL/LX or even LH by improving on the F&B front. Short haul interiors can be dated.

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