Think Luxury, Save Alitalia

People far more knowledgable than I have postulated how to save Italy’s struggling national airline. Writing in the International Herald Tribune, Tyler Brule might just be on to something, in theory at least, saying, ” Alitalia may well be one of Europe’s least-loved airlines, but it’s also the one carrier with the most potential to reinvent itself as a serious luxury brand.” He suggest Alitalia look to other successful luxury brands.

“While Alitalia has continued to stumble and lose passengers to more aggressive hub/carrier combos like Munich/Lufthansa, Italy’s luxury goods sector has continued to steam ahead with brands ranging from Loro Piana to Bottega Veneta rolling out shops around the world. Where Alitalia ticket offices used to fly the flag for Italy on the world’s most recognizable boulevards, the “tricolore” has been picked up by the likes of Tod’s, Ermenegildo Zegna and Poltrona Frau. Imagine if all corners of Italy’s premium businesses banded together to mount a rescue.”

And what would that look like?

“Alitalia has all the raw materials at its disposal. For ground transport it has the Maserati “quattroporte” to shuttle VIPs from terminal to Airbus. When it comes to uniforms it has everything ranging from design talent to manufacturing on its doorstep. From Turin all the way to Trieste there are not only clusters of manufacturers specializing in bespoke aircraft interior components, there are also factories making furniture for some of the most desirable names in contemporary design, like Poliform, B&B Italia and Cassina. Imagine what the interior of an Alitalia Boeing 777 could look like in the hands of the right designers and craftsman. Imagine the possibilities for lounges in Lagos, Buenos Aires, Los Angeles and London.”