Barely two weeks after new Italian flag-carrier ITA Airways replaced Alitalia, on October 14, ITA has rejoined the SkyTeam alliance.
ITA says it will work closely with SkyTeam and its members to add the SkyTeam benefits such as lounge access, additional checked baggage allowances and priority services.
"Joining SkyTeam is a natural step, enabling us to continue to deliver a global network and seamless experience that customers flying to and from Italy expect," said Alfredo Altavilla, Executive Chairman of ITA Airways.
"We look forward to close cooperation with our SkyTeam partners to support the start-up of our company, the Italian flag carrier.”
SkyTeam has also agreed with Alitalia Loyalty to "continue the partnership that will enable the six million members of the MilleMiglia frequent flyer program to earn and redeem miles on selected SkyTeam members’ flights, offering a wealth of opportunities and exclusive services."
PREVIOUS [August 31, 2021] 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 Italy, 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."