On October 15, Italy’s largest airline will stop operations. There will be no new flights available for travel beyond that date. Passengers having tickets for flights on or after Oct. 15 will be given the option of rescheduling their travels or receiving a full refund, according to the insolvent airline.
Alitalia was founded in 1946, shortly after World War II ended. More than 25 million people boarded its flights annually during its prime in the 1990s, with destinations including Rome, Milan, New York, and beyond. Sophia Loren, who starred in the airline’s advertisements in the 1960s, was a big fan of the airline. However, despite having another extremely important passenger among its frequent fliers: The Pope, the Italian flag airline has suffered for years.
The Diocese of Brooklyn highlighted that four distinct popes had flown Alitalia for 57 years, visiting more than 171 countries. However, following Pope Francis’ final journey on Alitalia to Hungary and Slovakia next month, the Vatican will not have to look for a new airline carrier.
On Oct. 15, Italy will establish ITA, a new flag carrier that will purchase all of Alitalia’s aircraft. It has no intention of branding them, so the difference would be negligible.
Although the precise route map for ITA is unknown, Politico claimed that the airline aims to travel between Italy and New York, Boston, Miami, and Tokyo this year. According to the publication, further flights to Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires, and Los Angeles are planned for 2022.
It’s unclear how ITA intends to incorporate Alitalia’s frequent fliers. The airline has stated that passengers who booked flights with miles after Oct. 15 may have those miles credited into their accounts.