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ITA Airways: "A year of firsts"

Nine million passengers carried, a larger fleet of aircraft

You made us fly high. ITA Airways' maiden flight, number AZ1637 on the Milan-Linate/Bari route, took off on 15 October 2021, at 6:20 am, five minutes ahead of schedule, like a baby in a hurry to be born or to tackle the many challenges ahead. 

This first year has been very important and full of "firsts", despite the difficulties experienced by the industry as a whole, due to Covid first and then the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. However, in spite of everything, and thanks to the commitment and dedication of the Company's staff, ITA Airways has stuck to its plan, which is grounded in four core objectives – sustainability, digitisation, innovation and customer focus – to be achieved under the banner of the Made in Italy.

Twelve months on today, ITA Airways is considered a “case study”, a model start-up, that has managed to build its growth on the recovery of air transport. On its birthday cake there are no less than 9 million candles, one for every passenger flying with the new national airline in this first year. 

Since 15 October 2021, and thanks to the passion, competence and professionalism of its people, ITA Airways has consistently earned top rankings, globally, for both Regularity, recording an index of 99.9%, and Punctuality, achieving record peaks, despite the critical issues caused by a troubled airport sector. 

A new ad airs tomorrow: like its passengers, its first year has flown by really fast

A whole year has passed since its maiden flight, an anniversary that the carrier is celebrating with a new advertising campaign. The creative concept is based on a comparison between the company's first year and a child of the same age. Like a child, in the space of just one year, the airline has quickly learned to do so many things, with only one goal in mind: to offer its passengers an increasingly unique and unforgettable flying experience. And so the commercial campaign is dedicated precisely to its passengers, with the claim "You are our wings". Further highlighting the carrier’s customer-centred project and vision. The campaign consists of a 60-second TV spot, set to be launched on 15 October, featuring a voice over by the talented Virginia Raffaele, as well as ads in the daily press and on display screens.

New in-flight meals served on routes from Italy designed by Michelin-starred Chef Gian Piero Vivalda and Ferrari bubbles on the ground and on board

ITA Airways has also developed a new creative concept for its in-flight meals, which have been designed to ensure passengers experience top-quality Italian food and wine based on specific themes. The project aims to create real added value for both passengers and the national food supply chain. 

Guided by this vision, from 2 June on all intercontinental flights departing from Italy in the ITA Airways network, Business customers can experience new flavours and tastes inspired by excellent Italian-sourced foods and wines, in a simple yet elegant style designed by the talent of the Italian chefs, who will be taking turns on board. 

From 15 October, the second chef to board ITA Airways Business Class, after Enrico Bartolini, will be the new Michelin-starred Chef Gian Piero Vivalda, owner of the Antica Corona Reale, a restaurant with over 207 years of history that has always been owned by the Vivalda family. Vivalda has earned 2 Michelin stars and many national and international accolades, including access to exclusive circuits such as Les Grandes Tables du Monde and the Relais&Château Association.

The chef has designed for ITA Airways 4 signature dishes from the menu of his restaurant, Antica Corona Reale at Cervere (an appetiser, a first course, a main course and dessert), highlighting his autumn recipe book, the richest, most evocative and traditional par excellence. They range from “Peperone Quadrato”, to “Ravioli ripieni di porri e patate”, on a cream of hard bra cheese, with a crunchy smoked bacon crumble”, to “Cappello del prete served on a celeriac puree, cooked in Nebbiolo sauce with quince, pear poached in wine and walnuts”, to the dessert, “Gianduja Bavarian cream on a crunchy shortcrust pastry base and passion fruit coulis”.

A menu designed to provide an all-round gourmet experience, based on a in-depth research into quality raw materials with a special focus on combinations of flavours, aromas and colours. The next chefs will be unveiled progressively, offering each of them a world-class showcase and the opportunity to study the best menu to transform each journey into a discovery of Italy. 

The Company's first birthday celebrations will also be a unique opportunity to launch a new partnership with Ferrari Trento, Lunelli group. These fine bubbles will be the protagonists for an all-Italian toast of excellence.

The partnership is part of a broader project with the great ambassadors of Italian excellence worldwide, in which ITA Airways is committed to creating synergies with Italian brands that share the same values as the Company. Thanks to their contribution, ITA Airways continues to pursue its objectives of improving the customer experience by offering a service that consistently has Italy at its heart.

New IFE programming: 80 new releases, including 6 new Hollywood blockbuster films, 18 new Italian films and 40 new Classics

Among the many new features of ITA Airways, a new in-flight entertainment programme is also in the pipeline, with a total of 238 contents including films, TV and music playlists.

In detail, 80 new releases are planned, including world hit films such as 'Top Gun-Maverick', which grossed more than $1.42 billion, and 'Elvis' from Warner Bros. Pictures, from Oscar-nominated director Baz Luhrmann, starring Austin Butler and Oscar winner Tom Hanks.

Among the Italian films, '5 is the perfect number', starring Toni Servillo and Valeria Golino, represents one of the most promising film debuts in recent years, and 'Il bambino nascosto', a film by Roberto Andò, starring Silvio Orlando, is in competition for the David di Donatello 2022.

Another important new feature in October is the new boarding and disembarkation music on the entire medium- and long-haul fleet dedicated to ITA Airways' destinations, especially on international flights.

 New intercontinental destinations for the Winter 2022/2023 season: Tokyo - New Delhi – Malè

In the Winter season, the Company will focus primarily on its long-haul expansion project with several important new routes:

  • On 5 November, the new route from Rome-FCO to Tokyo-Haneda will be launched, operated with an A-350, the Company's flagship aircraft. The new flight will be available three times a week.
  • From 3 December, the new route from Fiumicino to New Delhi will be launched, operated with an A-330, three times a week, every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.
  • From 17 December until 25 March 2023, the new direct flight from Rome-Fiumicino to Malè, Maldives, will be operated with A-350 and/or A-330 aircraft, with varying weekly frequencies during the season to meet the expected demand: from twice weekly, on Saturdays and Sundays (on 17, 18 December and then from 28 January to 25 March) to three flights a week (from 21 December to 25 December and then from 19 to 22 January), to four times a week (from 26 December to 1 January and from 11 January to 15), and, eventually to five times a week (from 2 January to 8 January).

The new intercontinental destinations are in addition to its flights to New York, operated from both Rome-Fiumicino and Milan-Malpensa, and those to Boston, Miami, Los Angeles, Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires, operated from Rome-Fiumicino.

Further expanding its network are 29 codeshare agreements with major global carriers, thus greatly extending the Company’s offering to customers. The carrier is part of the SkyTeam Alliance, a group of 18 member airlines connecting millions of passengers through a global network of routes, flying to over 1,000 destinations and offering exclusive services such as Sky Priority to loyal customers.

An all-round partnership with the world of sport: CONI, Sport and Health, FIGC, FIP, ACI Centenario Monza

ITA Airways, since its inception, has linked its brand to the world of sport, in order to affirm its role as ambassador of Italian excellence: its new livery is Blu Savoia and every day planes dedicated to the champions of all Italian sporting disciplines fly around the world.

It has pursued numerous partnerships with the world of sports over the past 12 months. From CONI to FIGC passing through Sport Salute and ACI, at the core of these partnerships is the common desire to develop and promote Italian sports worldwide. 

 FIGC, the Italian Football Federation: ITA Airways is the official carrier of the Italian national football teams and will be providing all air travel over the next two years. Under the terms of the partnership agreement, all the national men's, women's, youth, futsal, beach soccer and e-sports teams will be carried by the national airline to the venues of the international competitions in which they will play. 

 Sport e Salute has also partnered with ITA Airways in support of sport and the local communities, with initiatives dedicated to all people who enjoy practicing sports and support it with constant commitment. The partnership represents a synergy between the two companies and is designed to ensure that all sportsmen and women, from amateurs to pros, and their managers and coaches, can travel by air to the destinations of their competitions or training sessions, with dedicated fares and discounts.

It is Title Sponsor of the Centenary Celebrations of the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza. Four aircraft with the new blue livery of the ITA Airways fleet will carry the logo of the Autodromo Celebrations: first and foremost, the A350 dedicated to the legendary Enzo Ferrari, joined by the Airbus A330 dedicated to Tazio Nuvolari, and two Airbus A319s named for Alberto Ascari and Michele Alboreto. 

ITA Airways Official Carrier of the Italian National Basketball Teams. This important partnership between the Italian Basketball Federation and ITA Airways involves the company supporting the Italian teams over the next three years, carrying them on national and international trips with its “Azzurri” aircraft.

The fleet 

ITA Airways started with 52 aircraft (7 wide body and 45 narrow body). The fleet currently consists of 69 aircraft, including 6 new A-350s, 8 A-330/200s, 31 A-320ceos and 18 A-319ceos. The line-up will also comprise four new A-220 planes from October. The first two, with the “Born To Be Sustainable” livery, will make their first commercial flight on Sunday 16 October and will contribute to ITA Airways becoming the greenest carrier in Europe with 80% of new generation aircraft in the fleet by 2026. 

The A-220 is a very efficient single-aisle aircraft and will enable the company to benefit from a 25% reduction in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions per passenger, compared to the previous generation. It is light, quiet and boasts high levels of comfort on board.

It will operate between Rome, Milan, Genoa, Turin, Naples, Geneva, Zurich and Munich. In addition to the new A-220s, which join the A-350 flagship in the ITA Airways fleet, further A-220 and A-330/900neo, A-320neo and A-321neo aircraft will be arriving over the coming months. 


Sustainability is a topic of central importance for ITA Airways, which is equipping itself with a modern and environmentally friendly fleet that features cutting-edge technologies to optimise efficiency and quality and significantly reduce environmental impact. One of the advantages of being very young, is the possibility of being able to define from scratch the guidelines of an ambitious plan centred on building a green and modern fleet by 2026, 80% of which will be made up of new generation aircraft, leading to an estimated downscaling of CO2 emissions of 1.3 m tonnes over the '22-'26 Plan period. 

The Company was founded with the ambition of becoming a national beacon as a green, efficient and innovative air carrier. The Business Plan aims to prove that air travel and sustainability are not mutually exclusive, which seemed impossible only a few years ago. Being a start-up undoubtedly gives the Company a competitive advantage: sustainability must be the driving force, the enabler of the business idea behind ITA Airways.

Premiering at the "Farnborough International Airshow" last 19 July, ITA Airways presented its ambitious commitment to Sustainability in a Manifesto, enshrining its responsibilities towards our planet and people and the manner in which it intends to generate value.

The Manifesto gives shape to the Company's Sustainability Plan. Large airlines have great opportunities to change their business model to make it more sustainable in the future.


ITA Airways' loyalty programme Volare is ever growing and has now reached a membership of 700,000, with new commercial partnerships to enhance its overall travel experience. Looking to offer broader choice and flexibility, VolareE aims to customise travel and is forging commercial agreements with leading companies in the tourism sector and beyond. After the launch in August of the "Our Partners" section on the official website, the programme now welcomes various brands offering members not just discounts and exclusive benefits but also the chance to earn Volare points at each purchase:

  • Avis, Budget and Maggiore, car rental brands operating in more than 170 countries worldwide.
  • Aeroporti di Roma with its easy Parking service, the only official car park within walking distance of the airport terminals.
  • Best Western Group with 180 hotels in over 120 locations across Italy.

Not only opportunities to earn Volare points. As of September, the programme members can also convert the points they have already earned into the partner services. 

For business travel, the new Volare Corporate programme is now providing benefits for the employees of companies that have formalised commercial agreements with ITA Airways and choose the most flexible offers.

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AVIONEWS - World Aeronautical Press Agency