By Vincenzo Claudio Piscopo
The New Italian Airline Aeroitalia
Today there are only three Italian airlines with an Air Operator Certificate (AOC), ITA Airways, Air Dolomiti (part of the Lufthansa group) and Neos Air. At the beginning of 2020, there were six active Italian airlines, but difficulties linked to the pandemic and crises that have never been resolved led to the suspension of the AOC for Air Italy (as of Aug. 25, 2020), Alitalia (as of Oct. 15, 2021), EGO Airways S.p.A. (from Jan. 4, 2022) and Blue Panorama Airlines (from Mar. 10, 2022).
In this disastrous scenario for Italian commercial aviation, however, there are still those who believe in it. This is the case of Francesco Gaetano Intrieri, a former consultant of the Italian Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport from 2018 to 2019, who has a dream to bring forward his airline, called “Aeroitalia”. Intrieri will have the role of CEO and the airline will focus at first on Italy starting as a charter company and then in 2023 make long-haul flights to South America, the real goal of the airline. The fleet soon will consist of six Boeing B737-800 aircraft, the first of which has already been delivered and repainted with the airline’s livery that recalls the colors of the Italian flag along the entire fuselage. The other aircraft are expected to arrive next summer.
The company’s headquarters are in Rome and Aeroitalia’s hub could be Rome Fiumicino airport. At the moment the employees would be fifty, mostly coming from Alitalia and Air Italy. The aim is to help those who have lost their jobs and are former employees of Italian airlines that have now gone bankrupt. According to the CEO at the end of 2023, the goal is to hire about 2,000 employees.
But how do you marry a fleet of only B737-800s, for short/medium-haul, to reach South America in the future? According to Intrieri, Aeroitalia will not be a low-cost company, but it will pay particular attention to the costs of its business, without “any waste and carrying out everything in a transparent way”.
The South America objective is clear looking at who is financing the Aeroitalia project, namely German Efromovich, former owner of the Colombian national airline Avianca and the French banker Marc Bourgade, active in the field of leasing and financing in air transport. The initial investment seems to be about 180 million euros for the next three years and the airline is expected to start flight operations between spring and summer 2022. Therefore, the take-off, initially scheduled for March, has been postponed as the release of the AOC will presumably take place, not before April.
However, some doubts remain about the figure of Efromovich who, despite the great merit of having bought and restored the Colombian airline Avianca in receivership in 2004 was involved in 2017, in the Panama papers scandal and at the end of May 2019 was ousted from the Avianca group, after the it was taken over by United after the default. The Efromovich family’s assets are estimated at $1 billion.