Friday, July 5, 2013

► ITALY: Alitalia mulls Kenya, South Africa resumption from 2014 onwards; more Libyan, Moroccan routes too.

AlitaliaAs part of its new 3-year restructuring industrial plan aimed at stemming continued losses, Italian carrier Alitalia (AZ) says it is considering introducing new flights to Morocco and Libya during the course of 2013/2014 with flights to South Africa and Kenya to possibly resume from 2014 on.

Alitalia's 1961 Route Network
Alitalia's once prolific global network (TimetableImages)
In his presentation, Alitalia's new CEO, Gabriele Del Torchio, said Alitalia Group wants to better respond to changes in the Italian aviation market which, in recent years, "has seen a sharp reduction in the domestic traffic sector, against a growth of international and intercontinental routes."

Among new North African destinations under consideration are Marrakech, Morocco and Misurata, Libya to possibly launch during 2013/2014.

Mr Del Torchio went on to add that new long-haul routes with high traffic potential to/from Italy will be identified and introduced. Among the new intercontinental destinations currently under consideration are Nairobi, Kenya, and Johannesburg, South Africa, which, if given the go-ahead, would be launched "between Winter 2014 and Winter 2016." 

Under the airline's previous administration, Alitalia had considered a September resumption of Johannesburg flights.

However, some doubts over the viability of the two routes have been raised with some analysts believing Rome - Johannesburg yields to be too low to warrant even a 3x weekly Airbus A330 service. Coupled with stiff competition on the route from the likes of shareholder Air France, KLM, Emirates, Qatar Airways et al, the viability of the route has already been called into question. Doubt too has been cast on a Rome - Nairobi route given that Kenya Airways was forced to temporarily suspend it then downgrade it from a 767-300ER to a 737-700 in an attempt at making it viable. The route was altogether axed  in June 2012.

Thanks to RwandanFlyer.