MIAMI — The never-ending threat of bankruptcy won’t stop Alitalia from following its true self.
Italy’s flag carrier has announced that on June 15, it will unveil it’s all-new cabin crew uniforms—only two years after the airline launched its revolutionary design following its takeover by Etihad Airways.
Italian designer Alberta Ferretti was appointed to re-design the crew uniforms following numerous complaints from flight attendants, who claimed that the current uniforms are too uncomfortable.
Alitalia issued a statement clarifying that the design and creation of the new uniforms “do not involve any financial disbursement by Alitalia.”
“The fashion house will take care of the design and creation process for the new uniform collection,” the airline said.
And this new collection, according to Alitalia, will combine “elegance and convenience to ensure that all personnel, both ground and flight staff, is comfortable in each working environment and throughout any season.” said.
But these new uniforms will cost Alitalia approximately €7 million at a time of uncertainty for the carrier.
Etihad Airways took control of Alitalia in 2014, injecting a $750 investment into the failing airline to keep it alive.
Even though the Abu Dhabi-based carrier believed that the turn-around was possible, Alitalia is still failing today.
The Italian parliament has just voted to extend the timeframe for the Alitalia sale process.
This vote ultimately moves the deadline (originally set for October 31, 2018) to December 15, renewing the term of the €900 million ($1.04 billion) loan provided to the Italian carrier.
The decree specifies that Alitalia must seek adequate international partnerships and the repurchase of the London-Heathrow slots it sold to Etihad.
In the meantime, Alitalia has reported a Q1 operating loss of €167 million—an improvement from last year’s €279 million loss.
Likewise, the airline showed an improvement in sales, increasing by 6% during this same period.
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Even though these are slight improvements, there’s still a long road ahead to solvency.
And the decision to introduce new uniforms, when the future of the airline couldn’t be any darker, is a sign that there’s no concise strategy to pull the airline away from insolvency.
The Air Italy Threat
Meanwhile, in northern Italy, Qatar Airways’ Akbar Al Baker and company have established an all-new operation with Air Italy.
The new carrier, owned 49% by the Qatari airline, plans to penetrate Alitalia’s turf with a completely different product and levels of service.
Al Baker claims that Air Italy’s success will be based upon the fact that it’s the only Italian carrier that hasn’t gone through bankruptcy proceedings.
The airline is launching its long-haul flights to New York and Miami, from Milan, on June 1 and June 8, respectively.
Air Italy is expected to launch long-haul flights from Rome-Fiumicino, Alitalia’s main hub, next year.
With this discernment, and the likelihood of Alitalia failing in the near future, Air Italy might be positioning itself as the imminent replacement of the country’s flag carrier.