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Italian airline Alitalia says it will refund tickets booked after October 15th

As new flag-carrier ITA prepares to take off, airline Alitalia will soon cease trading and has confirmed that it will exchange or refund tickets.

Alitalia will stop flying on October 15th. Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

The new airline will start flying on October 15, after receiving the green light from Italy’s civil authorities last week, with tickets going on sale on August 26, ITA announced in a statement.

Alitalia meanwhile said that from midnight Tuesday it will stop selling tickets for flights from October 15, with customers who have already booked after that point able to change to an earlier flight or receive a refund.

The airline stated on social media that it would send a “direct communication” to all customers with further instructions.

Italy’s Corriere della Sera newspaper estimated that some 255,000 people have tickets booked with Alitalia after that date.

The board of directors of ITA meanwhile made a binding offer to buy 52 of Alitalia’s aircraft, as well as airport slots and other assets.

READ ALSO: ITA: What does Italy’s new national airline mean for travellers?

Loss-making Alitalia was placed under state administration in 2017 but Italy has struggled to find an investor to take it over. The situation was only exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic that grounded airlines worldwide.

Earlier this year Italy said it had reached an agreement with the European Union for a bailout that creates a new debt-free company to take over some of Alitalia’s assets.

The Italian government has created a 100-million-euro ($117-million) fund to reimburse Alitalia customers.

An Alitalia plane sat on the tarmac at Milan’s Linate airport. Photo: GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP

ITA’s scheduled debut comes amid serious challenges for the airline industry that was battered during the coronavirus pandemic, especially larger carriers already struggling to compete against low-cost airlines.

ITA has indicated it will make Rome Fiumicino its main international hub, with Milan Linate its second-biggest airport.

Its preliminary business plan includes 61 routes in 2021 to 45 different destinations, chiefly other European capitals including Paris, London, Amsterdam and Brussels.

Its long-haul routes will focus on major airports in the United States and Japan, including New York, Boston, Miami and Tokyo. 

READ ALSO: What are my rights in Italy if a flight is cancelled or delayed?

It will also fly domestically between 21 airports in Italy, allowing people travelling to or from smaller airports such as Venice, Genoa, Verona, Florence, Naples and Bari to connect to international flights in Rome or Milan.

By 2025 the airline hopes to add nearly 30 new destinations, including Washington DC, Los Angeles, Sao Paolo and Buenos Aires.

It has said that it aims to become “the first choice on international destinations to and from Rome Fiumicino”.

Member comments

  1. Does anyone know what will happen to the miles? I have a decent amount of miles, and my ability to use them between now and October is very limited.

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COVID-19 RULES

Reader question: What are Italy’s Covid quarantine rules for travellers?

Italy's quarantine rules have changed so many times over the past couple of years, it can be hard to keep track. Here's the latest information on when and how visitors need to self-isolate.

Reader question: What are Italy's Covid quarantine rules for travellers?

Question: “One of your recent articles says you can exit quarantine by testing negative for the coronavirus. But you can also exit quarantine by obtaining a certificate of recovery from Covid-19… true?”

Unfortunately, official proof of having recovered from Covid-19 won’t get you out of the requirement to self-isolate if you test positive for Covid while visiting Italy – though it can shorten your quarantine period.

The health ministry’s current rules state that anyone who tests positive while in Italy is required to immediately self-isolate for a minimum of seven days: that’s if the person in question is fully vaccinated and boosted, or has completed their primary vaccination cycle, or was certified as being recovered from Covid less than 120 days ago.

That period is extended to 10 days for those who aren’t fully vaccinated and boosted, or those who recovered from Covid or completed their primary vaccination cycle more than 120 days ago.

In either case, the infected person must have been symptomless for at least three days in order to exit quarantine (with the exception of symptoms relating to a lost sense of taste or smell, which can persist for some time after the infection is over).

READ ALSO: Travel in Italy and Covid rules this summer: what to expect

The patient must also test negative for the virus via either a molecular (PCR) or rapid antigen test on the final day of the quarantine in order to be allowed out.

Read more about getting tested while in Italy in a separate article here.

Quarantined people who keep testing positive for the virus can be kept in self-isolation for a maximum of 21 days, at which point they will be automatically released.

Italy does not currently require visitors from any country to test negative in order to enter its borders, as long as they are fully boosted or were recently vaccinated/ have recently recovered from Covid.

READ ALSO: How tourists and visitors can get a coronavirus test in Italy

Some countries (including the US), however, do require people travelling from Italy to test negative before their departure – which means visitors at the tail end of their journey could be hit with the unpleasant surprise of finding out they need to quarantine for another week in Italy instead of heading home as planned.

It’s because of this rule that a number of The Local’s readers told us they wouldn’t be coming on holiday to Italy this summer, and intend to postpone for another year.

If you are planning on visiting Italy from a country that requires you to test negative for Covid prior to re-entry, it’s a good idea to consider what you would do and where you would go in the unlikely event you unexpectedly test positive.

Please note that The Local cannot advise on specific cases. For more information about how the rules may apply to you, see the Italian Health Ministry’s website or consult the Italian embassy in your country.

You can keep up with the latest updates via our homepage or Italian travel news section.

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