New Italian airline ITA joins the SkyTeam alliance.

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New Italian airline ITA Airways, which replaced Alitalia, will also replace it in the SkyTeam loyalty program, the alliance announced Friday.

“We very much welcome ITA Airways’ decision to join our alliance and ensure continuity of service to the millions of customers who have chosen SkyTeam for travel to Italy,” SkyTeam president Walter Cho was quoted as saying in a statement, AFP reported.

Ex-Alitalia flight attendants strip off uniforms in protest.

Alitalia, a historic Italian company that fell into debt and is under government tutelage, ceased operations on October 14 after 74 years of existence and thus left SkyTeam.

It was replaced the next day by ITA Airways, born from the ashes but on a reduced scale, as it has only half of Alitalia’s fleet, i.e. 52 aircraft, to face a highly competitive market disrupted by the covid-19 crisis.

ITA, Alitalia’s successor, will purchase 28 Airbus aircraft and lease 31.

This transition had raised speculation that ITA Airways might prefer to join rival alliance Star Alliance, which includes German giant Lufthansa, United and Turkish Airlines.

Holders of loyalty points on Alitalia will still be able to use them on SkyTeam, according to the alliance, founded in 2000, which brings together 19 airlines – including Air France, China Eastern, Delta Air Lines and Aeroflot – and a total of 700 million customers a year before the health crisis.

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