Gianni Leone is the Alitalia Country Manager UK, he speaks of the present, and the future of Alitalia, the goals adn the new brand….
Would you tell us something about the new guise of Alitalia?
June 4 in Rome a great presentation of the new Alitalia brand took place in the presence of the president of the company, Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, of the CEOs of Alitalia and Etihad, and of the Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. The new livery of the aircrafts has been presented, too: anyway, it keeps some historical elements, for example the “A”, that has been since ever the logo of the elevators, and that now will cover them in full. In the belly of the aircraft has been added a writing with the name of the company; furthermore, the traditional green line – that Alitalia has been having for 46 years – has been removed and replaced by some pearled white lines, giving the aircraft a sense of dinamysm and velocity.
Does this new guise deal with new future for the company?
Absolutely yes. Our project is to make Alitalia become one of the greatest airlines companies in the world, maybe the best. Not only the livery has been changed, but also the interiors, and the new visual identity of the company, together with the new Business Class and Economy Class.
Have you received any feedback?
The project will be concluded next March 2017. We’ve just started with the refurbishment of long range aircrafts – it will be completed on March 2016, on September we will launch the new uniform of personnel and on December a new concept of Vip Lounge. Changes will also deal with the quality and the variety of food on board qualità – inspired to the great tradition of the Italian cuisine –, and with the entertainment, as all the airplanes will be equipped with wifi. In the new Business Class, passengers will live a comfrotable experience: seats, covered with leather e designed by Frette, like blankets and pillows, will be completely reclinable.
What about the strike that has stopped a lot of people?
Actually, in Alitalia, we think that the reasons of the strike have been inconsistent. On July 22, few days before, a meeting had taken place and a deal had been signed. Inconveniences were not so many and quicky things got back normal. The 95% of our pilots and flight attendants was regularly in service.
In your opinion, why Italians keep on relying on low cost companies? Can Alitalia become a low cost companty?
I most cases people do not choose Alitalia, because low cost companies offer a lor of destinations in our country. On the contrary, Alitalia chose to focus attention on its hub, that is to say in the airports of Fiumicino, Malpensa e Linate. This is the first reason. Then, for sure, Alitalia is perceived as a more expensive air carrier. Nevertheless, company is fightig against low cost companies, thanks to a lot of offers: on July, for example, we launched the light tariffs.
How much does it cost a Rome-London with this tariff?
With this tariff you can travel spending 93 pounds, included return. A price among the lowest of all time in the English market. This tariff offers the possibility to leave form the biggest Italian and international airports with a cabin baggage. And you can bring about you, on board, a laptot case, too. Drink and snaks are included in this price. You can do the check in on line or the fast check in at the airport, and – if you want to add another baggage – you just have to pay 15 euros per jouney.
This is a great innovation for our company: it will let us become competitive with companies like British Airways, for example. Actually, in the last year, Alitalia gained good results in the English market. The demand has increased and the company has been able to absorb it.
Can Alitalia be again an Italian company?
Air transport has been suffering a dramatic evolution in twenty years. Today, all the great companies are part of global alliances. That’s why I firmly believe that Alitalia will not become a 100% Italian company.
Alitalia and Expo. Would you tell us something more about this?
Alitalia and Etihad Airways are the official carrier of Expo 2015. Thanks to us millions of people can move towards Milan for the exposition. From Milan we offer 560 worldwide destinations. We have created an Alitali – Etihad pavilion, too, with two flight simulators (you can book a flight on the website), and cookery demonstrations with the greatest Italian cooks.
What about Italian airports?
Italian airports must become work class airports. I think that good investment could save them: this way they can be in line with the greatest international airports. In great airoports, you can generate: you can create employment.
What about the deal with Etihad?
It’s a very important deal. Etihad invested in Alitalia about 1,758 millions of euros. Alitalia, will have a bright future: today it’s a global partner, also due to the deal with SkyTeam, thanks to which it’s able to serve 1052 worldwide airports.
Company will expand itself: on June 4 we launched Seul, in Corea, and we are going to lauch Beijing next November. Not least, between 2016 and 2017 we will launch Santiago of Chile, mexico City, San Francisco and maybe other destinations.