Italy’s ITA Converts 28-aircraft Airbus MOU to Firm Order

 - December 1, 2021, 10:42 AM

Alitalia successor ITA Airways, Italy’s new national carrier, has converted a memorandum of understanding to a firm order for 28 Airbus aircraft, including seven A220s, 11 A320neos, and 10 A330neos, Airbus said Wednesday. Along with confirming the MOU announced on September 30, the airline said it will pursue its plans to lease A350s as part of its fleet modernization program.  

“Today the strategic partnership with Airbus takes an important step forward with the finalization of the order we announced last September,” said ITA executive president Alfredo Altavilla. “In addition to this agreement, possibilities for further collaboration have emerged, in particular regarding technological developments in the aviation sector and digitalization, where Airbus is the market leader. All this is part of the actions to achieve our environmental sustainability objectives.”

Plans announced by ITA on September 30 also call for it to acquire 56 aircraft from six lessors, including 31 under a deal with Air Lease Corporation (ALC). Overall, ITA plans to lease 56 new Airbuses, including A350-900s, among 13 long-haul jets. It emphasized that the leases come with “significantly more favorable economic conditions than those applied to Alitalia” and that it cut the number of lessors from 12 at Alitalia to six. ITA did not disclose the names of the other five leasing companies with which it concluded agreements.

Management and consultants involved in ITA’s launch always made clear that they would not duplicate Alitalia’s diverse fleet and that the new airline would work with a single supplier to achieve flexibility in crew management and obtain greater efficiency in the supply of aircraft spare parts and maintenance activities. While Alitalia operated mainly A320 family aircraft and A330s, its fleet also included some Embraer E-Jets and Boeing 777s.

ITA launched service on October 15 with former Alitalia jets, 52 of which it inherited from the now-defunct airline.

The airline expects the first of the new jets to enter the fleet from the end of the first quarter of 2022; at the end of 2025, 70 percent of ITA's 105-unit fleet will consist of new-generation aircraft, the company said in a statement.