Italian flag carrier Alitalia is soon to be replaced by new state-owned airline ITA (Italia Trasporto Aereo), but there's no guarantee that ITA will keep its predecessor's membership of the SkyTeam alliance.
Although ITA will inherit some of Alitalia's aircraft, staff and assets such as airport lounges, the operation is something of a reboot: a leaner carrier not subject to Alitalia's crippling costs, with its debt slate wiped clean plus €700m in restart funding from the Italian Finance Ministry.
ITA will shed many aspects considered 'non-core' to the business of flying, including ground handling, maintenance and its frequent flyer program, which will be put out to competitive tender.
As for SkyTeam: while newly-minted ITA chief executive officer Fabio Lazzerini considers alliances as "fundamental" to the airline's future, saying "the world of airlines is a world of alliances", ITA's membership of the Netherlands-based alliance can't be taken for granted.
Executive Traveller can confirm that SkyTeam is now in discussions with ITA on a path forward for when the ITA begins flying in mid-October.
A spokesperson for SkyTeam tells Executive Traveller the alliance "is currently partnering with Italia Trasporto Aereo (ITA), the new carrier replacing Alitalia as the national airline, to explore ways to continue providing SkyTeam’s 700 million customers with seamless connectivity to key Italian destinations."
Alitalia joined SkyTeam in 2001, putting it among the first handful of a roster which now lists 19 airlines, second only to Star Alliance (with 26 full members and 14 'affiliate' members) and ahead of Oneworld (14 full members, 15 affiliates).
In pre-Covid times, some 15 SkyTeam member airlines flew to and from Italty, with connectivity into the Alitalia network and access to Alitalia's lounges.
"Since Alitalia joined the SkyTeam Alliance over 20 years ago, Italy has become an important and highly valued market," the spokesperson said, adding that SkyTeam was "also working closely with both ITA and Alitalia... so that customers can go on experiencing best-in-class products and services while travelling to and from Italy."