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ITA Airways Shows New Airbus A330neo in Final Assembly

The Italian flag carrier offers a sneak peek at its newest long-haul airliner as it's being painted in Toulouse, France

by Enrique Perrella

February 28, 2023

Render: Courtesy of Airbus SAS

ITA Airways, the new Italian flag carrier, will welcome yet another brand-new aircraft to its fleet. After taking delivery of factory-fresh Airbus A350-900, A220-300, and A320neo planes, the airline showed a sneak peek through its Instagram account of the final assembly process of its upcoming Airbus A330-900 wide-body jet.

“Should we leave it in white, or paint it in blue?” asked the airline to its followers on January 27.


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A post shared by ITA Airways (@itaairways)

The question was posed because the airline currently operates a myriad of paint schemes: the old Alitalia livery; a new, striking metallic blue livery; a half-white/half-blue livery; and an all-white ‘Born to be Sustainable’ livery.

But followers through the airline’s social media accounts have pushed for the Airbus A330neo to be painted into the carrier’s impressive blue scheme. “It must be painted in blue,” said one user.

The airline’s social media campaign proved quite engaging, as the following day, it showed the new plane receiving a fresh coat of blue paint. “We are sorry for those that voted for white because blue definitely won,” posted the airline.


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A post shared by ITA Airways (@itaairways)

The new planes, set to join ITA Airways in mid-2023, will be initially deployed on the airline’s long-haul routes to North America and South America, opening new routes from Rome-Fiumicino (FCO) to Washington-Dulles (IAD), San Francisco (SFO), and Rio de Janeiro (GIG) this summer.

In addition to the A330neo, ITA Airways expects a long-haul narrowbody Airbus A321LR, with which it plans to launch flights to Saudi Arabia (Riyadh and Jeddah) and Kuwait in the Middle East.

Once the brand-new Airbus jets are introduced to the ITA Airways network, the airline will operate a fleet of 96 aircraft—most of which will be next-generation, fuel-saving jets.

Lufthansa Not Keen On Blue?

In January, the Lufthansa Group formally expressed its interest in acquiring ITA Airways to the Italian Ministry of the Economy.

According to the company, the German carrier intends to launch negotiations with the Italian government to reach a preliminary agreement over the purchase of shares, which could evolve into a more significant investment.

As noted by Leonard Berberi, an Italian journalist for Corriere della Sera, the negotiations between the Italian Ministry of the Economy and Lufthansa are in full swing.

“The preliminary agreement should be signed by the end of March,” wrote Berberi. “Two industrial plans—one presented by ITA Airways and the other by Lufthansa—will be examined.”

Photo: Courtesy of ITA Airways

As noted by the Italian journalist, Lufthansa aims to add Rome as the group’s fifth European hub, together with Frankfurt, Munich, Zurich, and Vienna. Once the integration is completed, Lufthansa hopes ITA Airways will become the group’s main arm on long-haul flights to South America, North America, and Africa.

Rumors hint that should the negotiations materialize, Lufthansa might consider shifting ITA Airways’ blue scheme to an all-white, just like all the German conglomerate’s group airlines. Lufthansa, SWISS International Air Lines, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Eurowings, and Air Dolomiti all feature white fuselages and a painted tail.