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Alitalia aims to a profitable 2017 and speeds up its turnaround

Alitalia today unveiled a series of customer service enhancements that will improve the travel experience for air passengers. The national airline of Italy also confirmed that its three years business plan was on track to be profitable by 2017.

The Chairman of Alitalia, Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, and Vice Chairman of Alitalia and President and Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways, James Hogan, today revealed the details of a range of new initiatives that are going to be introduced in the next few weeks.

Two new long haul destinations, the first chauffeur service for business travelers, the opening of new VIP Lounges and the refurbishment of the existing one in the airports served by the company, new cabin interiors and Internet and Email connectivity on board, as well as a focus on improving customer service at Fiumicino airport are the highlights that were announced.

The airline yesterday briefed 2,000 staff at a special meeting in Rome.

Chairman Luca Cordero di Montezemolo said "Our performance is in line with the business plan. Not only that, for the first time since 2009, the load factor for the quarter exceeded the 80% threshold and we confirm the objective of reaching profitability by 2017.

“Today we are announcing two new destinations in Latin America, new services for business customers, strong investments in ground services at Fiumicino, an aggressive program to improve the medium-haul fleet. All innovations that will be introduced very quickly and that will transform the travel experience with Alitalia."

Vice Chairman James Hogan, added: "Together we have come a long way. Alitalia is ascending but it still has challenges and to maintain momentum we need to accelerate cultural and operational change at every level within the company.

"Being part of the Etihad Airways Equity Partnership will help Alitalia succeed in its drive to profitability and with market confidence growing, its customers will have much to look forward to and experience in the next six months and beyond."

The new initiatives include:

Fleet and destinations

  • Alitalia will start flights from Rome Fiumicino to Santiago in Chile from May 2016, and to Mexico City from June 2016. With the two new flights Alitalia will serve 5 Latin American routes and a total of 10 in the Americas consolidating its leadership in the transatlantic routes from Italy.
  • The interiors of the medium haul aircraft, as well as the long haul aircraft, will be completely retrofitted with leather seats and new cabin refurbishments.  The  program will start in November and will be completed in spring 2016. Long-haul aircraft restyling, where the business class seats are in Poltrona Frau leather, will be completed by autumn 2016.
  • It was announced today that Internet and Email connectivity services - already underway on the long-haul fleet - will be extended to all the Alitalia fleet, including medium-range aircraft. Alitalia will therefore be one of the very few European airlines to offer connectivity over the entire fleet.
  • The airline is evaluating options to increase its long haul fleet, which will see next year’s long haul capacity increasing by over 20 per cent compared to last year.

Passengers looked after as guests 

  • A new complimentary executive car chauffeur service for business class customers travelling to Abu Dhabi from Rome, Milan and Venice, as well as to New York JFK from Rome and Milan will be introduced. This will be rolled out progressively for travellers flying to other intercontinental destinations from Italy.
  • Refurbished and brand new airport lounges at Rome, Milan Linate and Milan Malpensa, Naples, Catania and New York JFK will be completed in the next 12 months.
  • Alitalia’s new drive to improve the customer service experience for air travellers has been boosted with the company’s sending 1,820 people to Etihad Airways’ Training Academy in Abu Dhabi. In the next few days the new Alitalia Excellence Training Centre will be inaugurated in an area of more than 2000 square meters.

Digital Communication e Institutional Relations

  • A new website will be introduced in November. The new state-of-the-art site has been designed to provide convenient access from an identical user interface to services from any device - desktop, laptops, tablets or a smartphone.
  • Alitalia is preparing advertising campaigns both in Italy and in all major countries in which it operates, promoting, over its services, Italy as a destination in the main markets for incoming tourism to the country.

Focus Fiumicino

Finally a series of important initiatives aimed to improve the journey for Alitalia customers using Rome Fiumicino as a departing, transiting and arriving airport were announced. The project, which includes significant investments in both infrastructure and personnel, will include:

  • Reconfiguration and expansion of the fleet of shuttle buses, stairs and baggage belts for aircraft, to make a quick and comfortable transit for passengers and speed up delivery of the luggage.
  • Teams of Alitalia ground staff, with new uniforms easily recognizable, whose aim is to assist and guide passengers in transit .
  • New departures procedures aimed at accelerating the boarding of passengers, also through an increased number of staff.