Alitalia Adds First Boeing 777 to its Intercontinental Fleet

Boeing Commercial Airplanes [NYSE: BA] today delivered to Alitalia the first of six Boeing 777-200ER (extended-range) jetliners that the Italian carrier plans to use for nonstop flights to the United States, Canada, South America and Asia.

With their faster speed, the 777s have shorter trip times than the competing Airbus A340 models, so passengers get to their destination sooner.

"The 777's size and range perfectly match the requirements we set for our intercontinental fleet," said Francesco Mengozzi, Alitalia president and chief executive officer. "We also think the excellent operating economics of the 777 are critical in the aviation industry environment of today."

Alitalia, based in Rome, is the first Italian carrier to purchase a new 777 from Boeing. Alitalia also has options to purchase six 777-300s, a longer version of the 777-200.

The Alitalia 777, with 291 seats, has a spacious award-winning Boeing Signature Interior designed to provide maximum comfort to passengers on longer intercontinental flights. The passenger cabin features larger overhead stowage bins that are designed to open downward for convenient loading and the high ceiling provides passengers a more spacious, open environment.

In surveys, three out of four European passengers on long-range flights said they preferred the 777 to competing airplane models.

"The 777 is fast becoming a staple in the long-range fleets of the key European airlines," said Marlin Dailey, vice president of Sales -- Europe, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "Air France, British Airways and Lauda Air have been flying 777s for several years, Alitalia starts scheduled 777 flights this fall, and KLM has announced plans to add 777s to its fleet next year."

The 777 family of airplanes has more than 35 customers worldwide. To date, airlines have ordered more than 600 of the various 777 models.

Alitalia, which began operations in 1947, ordered its first Boeing passenger jet, a DC-8, in 1958. Today, the airline carries more than 25 millions passengers a year, has more than 900 flights each day worldwide and serves 107 cities in more than 50 countries. Alitalia is a member of the Sky Team alliance.

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Cheryl Addams
Nick Brough