|Parent company||Italian government|
The first commercial flight in Italy was started in 1923, but it reached full international service only with "Ala Littoria".
The airline was owned by the Italian government and predominantly featured the Italian flag on its aircraft. It also showed the fascism symbol in some routes. It used mainly state-of-the-art aircraft from Savoia-Marchetti.
Like many other European nations did in their early phases of civil aviation, Italy initially formed several small companies that struggled to provide a modest level of passenger service. The first of these was the Aero Expresso Italiana (AEI), founded on December 12, 1923, which began offering services in August 1926. By 1930, there were five other Italian airlines, including the Società Italiana Servizi Aerei (SISA), the Società Area Navigazione Aerea (SANA), the Società Area Mediterranea (SAM), and the Società Area Avio-Linee Italiane (ALI). Almost all of these early Italian air services were state-owned or state supported. The only major exception was the ALI, which was backed by the powerful Fiat industrial empire, a builder of automobiles. The three biggest airlines, SISA, SANA, and SAM, equally split the Italian civil aviation market, carrying about 10,000 passengers per year by 1930. If in 1925, it seemed like Italians hardly had a civil aviation sector, by 1930, they had made rapid progress (when was created "Ala Littoria"). In fact, Italian commercial aviation in 1930 was third in terms of the number of passengers carried, after Germany and France, and ahead of Great Britain and the Netherlands.
After the Spanish Civil War, Ala Littoria invested in Iberia, the Spanish airline that was established following the demise of LAPE. Ala Littoria acquired 12,5 % of the airline and purchased three Junkers Ju 52 air frames without engines from Lufthansa, giving them to Iberia in lieu of capital.
Ala Littoria flew to destinations across Europe and Italian colonies in Africa. In 1934 was done an experimental flight from Rome to Mogadiscio in Italian Somalia, that established a world record on long distance civil flight and allowed to start the prestigious Linea dell'Impero the next year, in 1935.
Ala Littoria's played an important role in controlling Italy's colonial empire in north and east Africa. But in establishing routes from Italy to Africa, Ala Littoria had to overcome many geographic obstacles. For example, airplanes of the 1930s had great difficulty reaching Asmara, the capital of Eritrea, which is located about 15,000 feet (4,572 meters) above sea level. One of the company's proudest achievements occurred in November 1935, when Ala Littoria began full passenger service between Rome and Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, on the east coast of Africa, thousands of miles from southern Europe.
During the Second World War, Ala Littoria acted as a transport service for the Italian military. However the airline did not survive the war and was disbanded.
Accidents and incidents
- On 30 April 1938, a Savoia-Marchetti S.73 of Ala Littoria crashed on a flight from Tirana to Rome. The aircraft struck the mountains near Maranola and all nineteen occupants were killed.
- On 4 December 1939, an Ala Littoria Junkers Ju 52/3mlu flying in bad weather struck a hillside near Bayerisch Eisenstein, Germany, at an altitude of about 1,000 meters (3,281 feet) during the final leg of a flight from Munich to Berlin and crashed, killing four of the 17 people on board..
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ala Littoria.|
- Caprotti F (2011) 'Profitability, practicality and ideology: Fascist civil aviation and the short life of Ala Littoria, 1934-1943.' The Journal of Transport History, 32(1), pp.17-38.
- The birth of air transport
- Century of flight: Italian civil service
- Berlin-Spotter - Iberia (in German)
- Original article on the Rome-Mogadiscio flight (click to enlarge)
- Century of flight: Italian civil service]
- "The Italian Disaster", Flight, 5 May 1938, p. 442
- Aviation Safety Network: Accident Description
-  Aeroporto Portela Lisbon 1943?, Ala Littoria Savoia Marchetti, Lufthansa DC-3
-  Aeroporto Portela Lisbon 1943?, I-BUTI