ITA receives first ‘blue’ A220

ITA Airways has received its first Airbus A220-300 in the company’s full livery and cabin configuration, as it continues on its path to creating a modernized fleet.

The Italian flag-carrier has ordered 22 A220s – 12 -100s and 10 -300s – which will all be delivered by 2026. The -300 will have 149 seats in a two-class configuration, while the -100 will seat 125 passengers.

Previously, ITA acquired four A220-300s in an opportunistic deal when they became available in the marketplace. These have a plain white colorscheme with the company’s ‘Born to be sustainable’ slogan along the fuselage. The aircraft also differ slightly internally. ITA plans to harmonize them with the blue aircraft in future.

The new aircraft in the airline’s distinctive blue colors will adopt the ‘Euro business’ layout used by many carriers. ITA uses the same seats as those in economy, but blocks off some of the seats to give business passengers more room and privacy. This allows the airline to extend or reduce the business section simply by using a movable cabin divider.

“The strategy is obviously to be more efficient,” said ITA Airways’ CTO and accountable manager, Francesco Presicce. The A220s will be used mostly on domestic services, together with some short-haul international routes. They will be operated at times of the day when load factors allow the airline to fill an A220 but not a larger A320.

The aircraft will normally operate from Rome Fiumicino and Milan Linate to cities such as Genoa, Turin or Naples, plus international destinations including Geneva, Zurich and Munich.

One important route already being served by the smaller A220-100 is that between Milan Linate and London City – both airports are close to their respective city centers, which makes them popular with executives. “In our network strategy, that’s a key one,” said Presicce.

The new A220s form part of ITA’s strategy to have 80% of its fleet consisting of new-generation aircraft by the time the company’s current business plan concludes in 2027. This will contribute to a significant reduction in emissions, as well as giving passengers the best experience possible when on board.

The A220s’ Pratt & Whitney PW1500G engines have proved problematical in service with many airlines. However, said Presicce, “At the moment, they are performing well. It’s part of my job to monitor that.”

Alan Dron

Based in London, Alan is Europe & Middle East correspondent at Air Transport World.