Alitalia (AZ, Rome Fiumicino) has begun operating under its new corporate holding company, Alitalia Società Aerea Italiana S.p.A. (Alitalia SAI S.p.A.), marking the beginning of a new chapter for the troubled Italian carrier. New partner Etihad Airways (EY, Abu Dhabi Int'l) now owns a 49% stake in Alitalia SAI valued at EUR387.5 million (USD465million). The remaining 51% is held by Alitalia CAI through MidCo, which has contributed the agreed assets and liabilities for the continuation of the airline.

Italy's civil aviation authority (L'Ente Nazionale per L'Aviazione Civile - ENAC) completed the transfer of predecessor Alitalia CAI's Air Operator's Certificate (AOC) and Air Services Licence (ASL) to Alitalia SAI on December 23 of last year, paving the way for the 'new' Alitalia to operate its first flight - New York JFK to Milan Malpensa - on January 1.

"We are celebrating the beginning of a new Alitalia," newly appointed CEO Silvano Cassano said. "We know we have much work to do, and we will move quickly. In the spring, Alitalia will resume service to China and in 2015 we will increase service to North America and Latin America. We will develop a range of new destinations, new services and a fleet with more long-haul aircraft, a new livery and new refurbished aircraft interiors."

According to Cassano, Alitalia's newly constituted board, which includes Etihad personnel, is looking to achieve sustainable profitability from 2017 onwards.

Starting January 14, Alitalia Express (XM, Rome Fiumicino) (with legal name C.A.I. First S.p.A.) and Volare Airlines (VE, Milan Malpensa) (with legal name C.A.I. Second S.p.A.) flights from Milan Linate will operate under Alitalia's AZ flight numbers. In the past, to retain slots, several flights from the slot constrained airport were operated under the flight numbers of the two subsidiaries. For the time being, both carriers will continue to operate one A320-200 each on behalf of Alitalia while other subsidiary Air One (AP, Rome Fiumicino) seems to have completely suspended wet-lease operations on behalf of Alitalia by now.