MIAMI — Alitalia unveiled its new Flight Attendant uniforms today at the opening of Milan’s Fashion Week.
This new collection, albeit heavily criticized by industry analysts, stems from numerous requests from the airline’s crew who have complained of comfort issues, as well as operability from the current uniforms.
Alitalia revealed its current uniforms less than two years ago, following Etihad’s investment in the Italian carrier.
According to the airline, the new uniforms have been designed by the Italian stylist taking into consideration the advice and suggestions of current Alitalia staff.
“The idea of bringing the creativity, elegance, and quality of our country in the world, on board Alitalia, makes me very proud,” said the designer.
“I am happy to present this project during Milan Fashion Week in such an official setting as Palazzo Reale in Piazza del Duomo,” she added.
Presenting The New Uniforms
Italian Fashion Designer Alberta Ferretti presented the new uniforms, which were described to be “elegant and timeless.”
The new design for both male and female Flight Attendants are composed of a suit and dress, both made of a fresh blue wool, a “no season fabric” with a thin and breathable texture that ensures comfort and allows for freedom of movement during the flight and on the ground.
Each piece is personalized with buttons, all of which come engraved with the Alitalia “A” in satin gold.
The women’s dress comes with a waistband that’s designed with the three colors of the Italian flag, as well as with the airline’s logo.
The uniforms include cotton poplin shirts with a small pocket, a scarf, and silk tie for all male Flight Attendants. Leather gloves and pure wool knitwear are also part of the new accessories.
For the onboard service, a vest and apron-style dress in an Alitalia-branded jacquard fabric complete the new uniform’s design.
“The collaboration with Alberta Ferretti gives prestige to Alitalia,” said Fabio Maria Lazzerini, Alitalia’s Chief Commercial Officer and Revenue Management.
“The new uniforms are a recognition of the work of thousands of colleagues who every day carry out professionally a crucial task for each airline: ensuring that passengers experience a unique travel experience in the name of quality. For this reason, we felt it was our duty to guarantee maximum comfort and well-being in their daily activities,” he added.
However, last week during the IATA AGM in Sydney, IAG’s CEO, Willie Walsh, said that it was madness for Alitalia to be spending on new uniforms while on bankruptcy.
“These new uniforms will cost them €7 million. It’s madness,” Walsh said.
And Peter Harbison, Executive Chairman at CAPA, quickly added that the airline might be “dressing up for their funeral.”
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Internal sources hint that Alitalia’s real reason for switching their uniforms is that Etihad asked them to remove any resemblance to the Abu Dhabi-based carrier’s design.
The current state at which Alitalia is immersed in has driven the Italian government to evaluate further emergency funding to keep the airline afloat.
However, during the IATA AGM, Lufthansa’s CEO, Carsten Spohr admitted being interested in taking over the airline and adding it to its “successful portfolio” of carriers.
Lufthansa’s stake in Swiss, Brussels, Austrian, and now Eurowings have proven to be successful, with all airlines turning profits and increasing their footprint both in Europe and the world.
Spohr challenges that the Italian government needs to come up with a viable decision for the airline. “Alitalia needs to be restructured before we can do something,” he told Italian journal, Corriere della Sera.
“Just like Swiss and Austrian Airlines show, when we come into play, companies start making profits,” he said.
Spohr also noted that he won’t be putting any pressure on the Italian government. But he confirmed that without a proper restructuring, there will be no investment in the airline.
“In all modesty, we’re not Etihad. We will only invest after the airline is restructured. Not before, like they did,” he emphasized.
Spohr is a firm believer that Alitalia would be would be a great addition to its group, with Rome becoming its fifth hub in Europe after Frankfurt, Munich, Zurich, and Vienna.
With the new Italian government just established, Alitalia’s agenda is still undefined.
As the country transitions into a new alliance government and other political issues are addressed, Alitalia’s losses continue to drive the airline into a steeper crisis.
And while the new uniforms are introduced to the airline’s extensive network, time and money might be running out at a pace that might exceed any expectations from both the government and the airline itself.