LONDON – Italian carrier Alitalia (AZ) has today announced it will resume services from Rome (FCO) to Buenos Aires (EZE) and Sao Paulo (GRU) in Brazil and Argentina respectively.
Services to EZE will begin on December 19, in co-operation with GOL (G3) who will be codesharing on those flights, with the services to GRU resuming on December 15. Both flights will operate on a weekly basis using its Boeing 777-200ER aircraft that are still in the Alitalia fleet.
The GRU service will depart FCO at 2205L, before arriving in Sao Paulo at 0625L the next day. The return will depart GIG at 1605L that same day, before arriving back in Rome at 0715L the next morning.
The EZE service will depart FCO at 2150L, before arriving into Buenos Aires at 0800L the next day, with the return departing at 1405L, then arriving at 0700L the next day.
With the EZE service being supported by GOL, the EZE services will be commercially supported by Aerolineas Argentinas (AR) who will provide further connectivity to 33 domestic destinations in the country such as Cordoba (COR) and Mendoza (MDZ).
EZE and GIG will join New York (JFK) as the airline’s three intercontinental destinations that are being served on a scheduled basis.
The Cargo Benefits
Alitalia was keen to note, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, that the Boeing 777-200ER will bring in 20 tons of cargo each flight.
This will no doubt consist of medical goods and equipment across the three airports, meaning more medical-based connectivity from the two South American countries.
Whilst a lot of Italy isn’t properly open for tourism yet, this is a temporary avenue that the airline can explore whilst the pandemic continues to unleash its wrath on the rest of the continent.
The airline was also keen to note in its release the level of COVID safety it has implemented for its passenger flights across the pond. AZ has classed its HEPA Filters, which offer 99.7% purity, as providing the cabin as pure as a “sterile medical room”, offering confidence in such safety over COVID.
On top of this, passengers who want to use such services will be required to complete a self-certification form before boarding, which states the person has not been in close contact who has contracted the virus.
Furthermore, for the longer flights, AZ has advised that customers must bring an adequate number of masks, as it has advised replacing them once every four hours.
Positive Change Ahead?
It remains clear that these route announcements represent some positive change seen at AZ. With the European Commission approving its financial aid package back in September, it now means that the airline can conduct the work needed to bring the airline back to some level of profitability.
And once that can be done, then the Italian Government can look to fully sell the carrier and flip it for a profit, especially with the airline becoming quite a political problem in the country over such bailouts.
It ultimately will be interesting to see how the airline copes with the launch of these new routes, and whether it will provide any airline-saving revenue that will be needed to bring the airline through this volatile period.
Featured Image: Alitalia Boeing 777-200ER. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons