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First look: Italian airline ITA’s new A350 business class

Italian carrier ITA Airways has received its first of four Airbus A350 aircraft this week, with the newly delivered jet offering a tantalizing glimpse at its latest business class.

Born from the ashes of state-owned Alitalia, which collapsed under crippling debt in 2021, ITA Airways is something of a reboot – a fresh start with an updated fleet and focus.

Now parked at Rome–Fiumicino Airport, the A350 was intended for Chinese carrier Hainan Airlines, though financial troubles meant it was unable to take delivery. Their loss is ITA’s gain.

Named after Italian racing legend Valentino Rossi, the aircraft retains the same two cabin layout implemented for Hainan, with 33 seats in business class and 301 in economy class. There is no premium economy.

First look at the new ITA Airways A350 business class
Twitter/Luca Bianchi

In business, the seat is based on the Collins ‘Super Diamond’, which travelers will likely recognise from Air Canada’s Boeing 787 Signature Class, Fiji Airways’ A350 business class, and Virgin Australia’s now-defunct ‘The Business’ cabin.

It’s a go-to for many airlines, with its 1-2-1 configuration delivering aisle access for every guest, plus ample storage and a lie-flat bed for passengers to stretch out on those longer flights.

An attractive blue and cream color scheme flows from nose to tail – a more contemporary look than featured on its current fleet. It’s very safe though, with only a subtle Italian flag on the headrests and red sash belts adding some much-needed flair.

The cabin features 33 seats in a 1-2-1 configuration.. Twitter/Luca Bianchi

The cabin features 33 seats in a 1-2-1 configuration.
Twitter/Luca Bianchi

ITA Airways flights to 41 domestic and international destinations, including London, Athens and Madrid. A member of the SkyTeam alliance, business class and elite status holders can enjoy access to 750 branded and partner airline lounges worldwide.

While state-owned, the Italian government is pushing ahead with plans to sell the airline by the end of June, with Economy Minister Daniele Franco setting a deadline for binding offers of May 23.

Delta, Lufthansa/MSC, and Air France are the three prospective bidders.

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