ITA Airways: Italy's new national airline unveils blue livery

New name and new look for Italy's new national airline.

Italy's new airline is to be called ITA Airways, despite paying €90 million for the brand and naming rights of its predecessor Alitalia which ceased operating on Thursday after 74 years.

The news was announced by CEO Fabio Lazzerini during the press conference for the launch of the airline on Friday morning, hours after its first flight landed in the southern city of Bari.

Unveiling the name for the state-backed carrier - which until now had been called ITA (Italia Trasporto Aereo) - Lazzerini described ITA Airways as "a name that looks forward, looks to the future."

The airline will operate all-blue planes, with the ITA Airways logo in white gold, with white wings and Italian tricolour on the tail, in a break from the green, white and red livery of Alitalia.

In addition to dropping the Alitalia name and livery, ITA announced a new website - www.itaairways.com.

Justifying the purchase of Alitalia's brand and naming rights, currently not used, Lazzerini said "it was a heritage that had to be preserved," adding that ITA wanted to "manage the process" of how the brand is used.

ITA chairman Alfredo Altavilla told reporters that the company is seeking a deal with a larger airline by the end of 2022 as it is too small to compete on its own.

The new slimmed-down airline has employed only around 2,800 of the almost 11,000 Alitalia staff, although its workforce may increase to 5,750 in 2025.

Initially it will serve 44 destinations, rising to 74 by 2025, and it will serve more than a dozen Italian cities alongside key airports such as London-Heathrow and Paris-Charles de Gaulle.

Tickets are on sale for US destinations, which ITA Airways will launch over the coming months, to destinations including New York JFK, Miami, Boston and Los Angeles, with more long-haul flights expected next spring, including Buenos Aires and São Paulo.

ITA Airways takes off at a difficult time amid competition from low-cost rivals and with the aviation sector still reeling from the covid-19 pandemic.