Alitalia will reveal new livery and new uniforms on June 4 as the airline begins to reinvent itself with the backing of Gulf powerhouse Etihad.
Silvano Cassano, CEO of Alitalia, says the airline will "preserve the tail with the Italian flag, even if updated in an elegant and modern (way)" – so expect the same tricolour pattern of green, white and red but with a stylish update, in keeping with Cassano's aim to transform the ailing carrier into a 'five star airline'.
For a chic uniform with Italian flair, Cassano has turned to prestigious design schools the Marangoni in Milan and the Academy of Costume and Fashion in Rome, which will collaborate on a final uniform "that wants to look at (the) future and the new generations."
The twin reveal will kick off a new brand campaign with an emphasis on "passion and technology" and aimed at the airline's home market as well as the US and Asia.
"Consumers are saying: give us an excuse to come back to you" Cassano recently told Bloomberg as he charted the challenges ahead. "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.
Also on the cards for Alitalia is all-new business class seating and inflight Internet in all aircraft by 2017, along with better food.
"Alitalia can only thrive as a five-star airline," Cassano says.
PREVIOUS [20 January, 2015] | Alitalia will adopt new branding with a unique 'look and feel', along with new products and a "five star service experience", with support from stakeholder Etihad Airways.
New uniforms and aircraft livery will be part of the make-over, along with better food and lounges, promised Alitalia CEO Silvano Cassano.
"The new Alitalia will symbolize the best of Italy" the airline says. "Food, wine culture, fashion, style, architecture, design and technology."
New aircraft are also on the cards, with Cassano saying he would tap into Etihad’s deep orders with Airbus and Boeing if necessary.
The beleaguered Italian airline is seeking to not only recreate itself but, with the help of Etihad, return to profit by 2017.
Alitalia has been unprofitable for years and in 2013 received a €500 million (A$727 million) bailout from the Italian government.
Etihad Airways adopted a 49% stake in the ailing airline from January 1st in a deal worth €560 million (A$790 million), giving the Gulf carrier a strategic foothold in the European market.
Europe's sexiest aviation brand?
"We wouldn’t have invested in Alitalia if we hadn’t thought the industrial plan would be successful," said Etihad CEO James Hogan. "I’ve been told not to say it but I do believe Alitalia can be the sexiest brand in Europe in aviation."
Alitalia will also increase flights from Rome, Milan, Venice, Catania and Bologna to Abu Dhabi to tap into Etihad's international network, and forge closer links with Airberlin.
New routes will include Rome to San Francisco, Beijing, Shanghai and Korea, while fashion capital Milan will see direct flights to its Asian counterparts Tokyo and Shanghai
But there would be "no free kicks," Hogan said. "We don’t have an endless reserve on cash. We work alongside, provide support, but the direction of the company is in the hands of the Italian team."
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