Alitalia Focuses On In-House Heavy Maintenance

The airline has been gradually bringing more maintenance work in-house.
Credit: Alitalia

Alitalia’s MRO division says it will focus on heavy maintenance work for its in-house fleet of aircraft in the absence of third-party repair work while the novel coronavirus pandemic plays out.

Vincenzo Quaranta, head of marketing and sales for engineering and maintenance at Alitalia, says the airline MRO has temporarily modified its strategy to give priority to heavy maintenance work on some of the grounded Alitalia fleet, which accounts for around 40% of its overall repair output.

“This is due to the difficulty for our third-party customers to ferry their aircraft to Italy to perform heavy maintenance at Alitalia, because of the travel restrictions and bans,” Quaranta says. Work is to be carried out at its main base close to Rome’s Fiumicino Airport. 

Italy has surpassed China in experiencing the highest cases of the virus globally, with 41,035 confirmed cases and 3,405 deaths as of Thursday (Mar. 19.). The global pandemic has led to many carriers grounding aircraft and cancelling or reducing flight frequencies to destinations in Europe, a move which has also had a knock-on effect across Alitalia’s line station network on the continent, Quaranta says.

However, he says many of its third-party airline customers remain in the stage of evaluating which course of action to take in the face of COVID-19, which has surpassed more than 241,000 cases and resulted in 9,982 reported deaths worldwide.

While no new technology investments were planned for 2020, Alitalia had looked to implement new technologies including e-logbooks and the trialing of drone inspections to aid its repair offerings in Italy following on from investments in the platforms last year. At this time of uncertainty, Quaranta says no changes to these plans have been implemented.

In total, the Italian flag carrier, which this week was the recipient of a government pledge for a €600 million ($640 million) taxpayer-funded bailout, operates a fleet of 113 aircraft.

James Pozzi

As Aviation Week's MRO Editor EMEA, James Pozzi covers the latest industry news from the European region and beyond. He also writes in-depth features on the commercial aftermarket for Inside MRO.