Aerolinee Itavia SpA was one of the principal private Italian airlines in the 1960s until its collapse in the early 1980s, after the infamous Aerolinee Itavia Flight 870 crash, also known as the Ustica disaster.
The airline was formed under the name of Società di Navigazione Aerea Itavia in 1958 and started domestic services a year later using de Havilland Dove and de Havilland DH.114 Heron aircraft. Operations were suspended in 1961, but resumed in 1962, now under the name of Aerolinee Itavia. The Herons had been disposed off and from summer 1963, the larger turboprop and pressurised Handley Page Dart Herald airliner was being used. The Heralds continued to be flown until 1973.
Operations ceased again in 1965 and recommenced again in 1969 using Fokker F28 twin-jet airliners. In 1971 the Douglas DC-9-15 entered service. Other DC-9 versions operated were the Douglas DC-9-21, Douglas DC-9-31, Douglas DC-9-33 and Douglas DC-9-51. A total of 14 F28s and 11 DC-9s were used throughout its history.
The following aircraft types were operated by Itavia:
- Cessna 402
- de Havilland Dove
- de Havilland DH.114 Heron
- Douglas DC-3/C-47
- Douglas DC-9 Srs. -15, -21, -30, -51
- Fokker F28 Fellowship
- Handley Page Dart Herald.
Incidents and accidents
- On October 14, 1960, a De Havilland 114 Heron 2, registered as I-AOMU departed from Rome to Genoa, and crashed on mountain (Monte Capanne), in the Elba's Isle. All 11 passengers and crew on board died.
- On March 30, 1963, a DC-3, registered as I-TAVI departed from Pescara to Rome, and crashed on Monte Serra Alta, a mountain nearby Sora. All 8 passengers and crew on board died.
- On January 1, 1974, a Fokker F28, registered as I-TIDE departed from Bologna to Turin, and crashed on approach to Turin Airport. 38 of the 42 people on board died.
- On June 27, 1980, Aerolinee Itavia Flight 870, a Douglas DC-9-15 departed from Bologna to Palermo crashed in the Tyrrhenian Sea under controversial circumstances, which involve an explosion caused either by a bomb on board or an air-to-air missile attack. All 81 passengers and crew on board died. This disaster is remembered as the Ustica massacre.
- Hengi, B.I. (2000). Vergangen, Vergessen, Vorbei [Airlines Remembered: Over 200 Airlines of the Past, Described and Illustrated in Colour]. Neil Lewis, translator. Leicester, England: Midland Publishing. ISBN 978-1-85780-091-3.
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