Alitalia last night unveiled a series of customer service enhancements that will improve the travel experience for air passengers. The national airline of Italy also confirmed that its three-year business plan was on track for profitability by 2017.
The Chairman of Alitalia, Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, and Vice Chairman of Alitalia and President and Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways, James Hogan, today revealed the details of a range of new initiatives that will be introduced in the next few weeks.
Two new long haul destinations, the first chauffeur service for business travellers, the opening of new VIP lounges and the refurbishment of existing ones at airports, new cabin interiors and Internet and email connectivity on board, as well as a focus on improving customer service at Fiumicino airport, are the highlights that were announced.
The airline yesterday briefed 2,000 staff at a special meeting in Rome.
Chairman Luca Cordero di Montezemolo said “Our performance is in line with the business plan. And, for the first time since 2009, the load factor for the quarter exceeded 80 per cent and we are on track to meet our objective of reaching profitability by 2017.
“We are announcing today two new destinations in Latin America, new services for business customers, significant investment in ground services at Fiumicino airport and an aggressive program to improve the medium-haul fleet. These will be introduced shortly and will help to transform the travel experience for customers flying with Alitalia.”
Vice Chairman James Hogan added: “Together we have come a long way. Alitalia is ascending but it still has challenges and to maintain momentum we need to accelerate cultural and operational change at every level within the company.
“Being part of Etihad Airways Partners will help Alitalia succeed in its drive to profitability and with market confidence growing, its customers will have much to look forward to and experience in the next six months and beyond.”
The new initiatives include:
Fleet and destinations
- Alitalia will start flights from Rome Fiumicino to Santiago in Chile from May 2016, and to Mexico City from June 2016. With the two new services, Alitalia will operate five Latin American routes and a total of 10 in the Americas, consolidating its leadership on the transatlantic routes from Italy.
- The interiors of the medium-haul aircraft, as well as the long-haul aircraft, will be completely retro-fitted with leather seats and new cabin refurbishments. The program will start in November and will be completed in spring 2016. Long-haul aircraft restyling, where the business class seats are in Poltrona Frau leather, will be completed by autumn 2016.
- Internet and email connectivity services – already underway on the long-haul fleet – will be extended to the entire Alitalia fleet, including medium-range aircraft. Alitalia will be one of the very few European airlines to offer connectivity throughout its entire fleet.
- The airline is evaluating options to expand its long-haul fleet, which will see next year’s long-haul capacity increase by more than 20 per cent compared to last year.
Passengers looked after as guests
- A new complimentary executive car chauffeur service for business class customers travelling to Abu Dhabi from Rome, Milan and Venice, as well as to New York JFK from Rome and Milan, will be introduced. This will be rolled out progressively for travellers flying to other intercontinental destinations from Italy.
- Refurbished and brand new airport lounges at Rome, Milan Linate, Milan Malpensa, Naples, Catania and New York JFK will be completed in the next 12 months.
- Alitalia’s new drive to improve the customer service experience for air travellers has been boosted with the company’s sending 1,820 people to Etihad Airways’ Training Academy in Abu Dhabi. In the next few days the new Alitalia Excellence Training Centre will be inaugurated in an area of more than 2,000 square meters.
- A new alitalia.com website will be introduced in November. The new state-of-the-art site has been designed to provide convenient access from an identical user interface to services from any device – desktop, laptops, tablets or a smartphone.
- Alitalia will launch advertising campaigns both in Italy and in all major countries in which it operates, to promote its services and Italy as a destination for tourists.
A series of important initiatives will be introduced to improve the journey for Alitalia customers using Rome Fiumicino as a departing, transiting and arriving airport. The project, which includes significant investment in both infrastructure and personnel, will include:
- Reconfiguration and expansion of the fleet of shuttle buses, stairs and baggage belts for aircraft, to ensure a quick and comfortable transit for passengers and speed up baggage delivery.
- Teams of Alitalia ground staff, with new easily recognizable uniforms, to assist and guide passengers in transit.
- New procedures to accelerate the boarding of passengers, with an increase in the number of staff at the departure gates.