The pilot of the flight, Andrea Gioia bid an emotional farewell to the crew and passengers saying, “It’s a historic flight…It’ll be the end of the great epic of the Italian company.”
He announced that it was also his last flight and that he has been flying since he was 23, adding that being in charge was a burden but also an honour and privilege for him. Gioia advised the 130 passengers to keep their boarding pass as a memento from the historic last flight and they should consider themselves as part of the history. Coincidentally, that was the last Italian flight to the coastal Island of Sardinia.
On arrival at the Fiumicino airport Rome, the last Alitalia flight took a tour of the runway in a nostalgic manner before stopping. At the exit, some maintenance workers welcomed the crew with flowers in their appreciation. Some of the passengers took selfies with the crew and asked for autographs of the Captain to keep from the historic experience as the pilot suggested.
Alitalia was founded in 1946 shortly after World war II ended and took its first flight on May 5, 1947. It had a take-off by Alitalia-Aereolinee Italiane Internazionali, with the first domestic flight Turin-Rome-Catania. Two months later it took its first international flight from Rome to Oslo with 38 passengers on board and three years later the first hostesses were employed, wearing the uniforms of the Fontana sisters, then four-engined DC4 came on and hot meals were introduced.
It later became an airline of pride with Alitalia-Lines Aeree Italiane company managing it, with 3,000 employees and 37 aircraft that climbs the international rankings from 20th to 12th place. In 1960, it was the official company of the Rome Olympics which transported over a million passengers for the first time. It flew to major cities in Europe, Africa, Asia, North and South America and Australia.
The airline got distressed in the nineties; in 2008 a consortium of Italian entrepreneurs called “brave captain” saved it from being sold to Air France-KLM. However, the company has been under an administration since May 2, 2017 and ended on October 14, 2021. The last Alitalia flight came with the loss of 7,000 jobs as the Mayday call for a company that started on May 5 came to an emotional halt.