Alitalia: The Fall of a National Carrier

Alitalia, Italy’s flag carrier, stopped operations on October 15, 2021, after 74 years of service. The airline had been struggling financially for decades, and the COVID-19 pandemic was the final blow. Fall of Alitalia…

Here are some of the reasons why Alitalia failed:

  • Poor management: Alitalia had a long history of poor management, which led to a number of strategic missteps. For example, the airline repeatedly tried to expand its long-haul network, but it never managed to do so profitably.
  • High costs: Alitalia had high costs, due to factors such as a bloated workforce and inefficient operations.
  • Competition: Alitalia faced increasing competition from low-cost carriers and other airlines, both domestically and internationally.
  • COVID-19 pandemic: The COVID-19 pandemic caused a sharp decline in air travel, which hit Alitalia particularly hard. The airline was already struggling financially, and the pandemic made it impossible for it to turn a profit.

The Italian government tried to save Alitalia by providing it with billions of euros in bailouts over the years. However, the airline was never able to become profitable, and the government eventually decided to pull the plug.

Alitalia: The Fall of a National Carrier
The Fall of Alitalia a National Carrier

Alitalia to ITA Airways

Alitalia has been replaced by ITA Airways, a new state-owned airline. ITA Airways is starting smaller and more efficiently than Alitalia, and it is aiming to become profitable within a few years.


Alitalia – The failure of a national carrier by Maria Grazia Brunetti and Antonio Gambardella (2014)
Why Alitalia Failed by The Economist (2021)
Alitalia’s Failure: A Case Study in Airline Management by Forbes (2021)
Alitalia: The End of an Era by CNN (2021)
Alitalia: A History of Failure by FlightGlobal (2021)