Alitalia has stopped selling tickets ahead of its replacement by a new state-owned airline from October.
Italia Trasporto Aereo, or ITA, has been granted an operator’s certificate and will launch as a slimmed-down version of Alitalia without its debts.
Alitalia’s website confirmed its winding down of operations after 74 years. It said: “Alitalia, under Extraordinary Administration from midnight 25 August, will no longer sell tickets for flights from 15 October.”
The Skyteam member is offering to change tickets for travel until 14 October or give full refunds.
Alitalia will pass some of its aircraft and other assets to ITA. The new carrier will receive €700 million in start-up funding, according to Executive Traveller.
ITA will be around half the size of Alitalia, with 52 aircraft, of which seven will be wide-bodies. However, there are plans to double the fleet by 2025.
Alitalia has been in administration since 2017 after decades of unprofitability and numerous attempts to revive its fortunes. Previous efforts have included huge government cash injections and an investment from Etihad, which ended its involvement in 2017.
A stumbling block has always been attempts to cut the workforce to sustainable levels, which were met with opposition from staff.
ITA will reportedly have less than a third of Alitalia’s 10,000 employees and focus mainly on domestic and European routes, with a handful of long-haul services to the US and Japan.
The new carrier will face tough opposition, as Alitalia’s historic inefficiencies were exploited by rivals. Ryanair was a key factor in Alitalia’s demise, as it took advantage of the Italian carrier’s issues to launch services, including domestic routes, gaining around a third of the market.