Aviation Historian 33
M.Wickstead - Italy's forgotten airlines (3)
Having arrived in Italy with the USAAF’s 47th Troop Carrier Squadron, with which it participated in Operation Husky, the Allied invasion of Sicily, C-47 c/n 9101 was acquired by Linee Aeree Italiane (LAI) in late November 1947 and given the Italian civil registration I-LINC. Sadly, it crashed near Trento in December 1956.
Aerea Teseo acquired a fleet of nine C-47s from January 1947, using them until operations were suspended in February 1948, when Salpanavi took the airline over.
One of six C-47s operated by Transadriatica, I-TRES (c/n 25573) joined the fleet in February 1947. It later joined ALI in September 1949 and LAI (as I-LILI) in 1952. It served in Italy for another four years before becoming G-AOUD with Transair in the UK in 1956.
The sheer post-war ubiquity and availability of the C-47 in Europe meant that much of the workload of Italy’s post-war airlines was undertaken by the type. LAI operated some 26 examples from 1947 until 1957, when it was put into liquidation and its assets acquired by the government for redistribution to the state-owned Alitalia.
Trieste-based SISA operated a total of six C-47s - I-COSA, I-LUNA, I-NAVE, I-SOLE, I-VARO and I-VELE - during its brief post-war existence, four of which are seen here. Nearest the camera is I-SOLE, which joined SISA in May 1947 and later served with ALI-FR and LAI (as I-LOTT) before joining the Italian Air Force in 1955.
Alitalia acquired converted former Pan American C-54 I-DALT in March 1950, naming it Citta di Milano, although LAI was able to obtain funds to secure the purchase of three pressurised DC-6Bs.
The romantically registered Douglas DC-6 I-LOVE joined the Linee Aeree Italiane fleet in October 1950.
Fiat G.212CP I-ENEA had a long and varied career, serving with ALI-FR before going to France, returning to Italy in 1952 to operate with independent air carrier SIPTA, with which it made several flights from Italy to Hong Kong.
Fiat G.212CP I-ELCE of Avio Linee Italiane (ALI) awaits another flight at Zurich-Kloten in Switzerland. Tragically the trimotor was lost in an accident while serving as part of the newly minted ALI-Flotte Riunite on May 4, 1949, when it crashed on approach to Turin in fog, killing the entire Torino FC football team.
Fitted with Pratt & Whitney R-1830-S1C3G Twin Wasp engines, Fiat G.12LP I-SASS (c/n 100) was one of four operated by Airone, the others being the Alfa Romeo-powered I-AIRE, ’IRN and ’IRO. All four would ultimately be absorbed into the ALI-Flotte Riunite fleet on amalgamation in early 1949.
In late December 1941, under pressure from the American government, the Brazilian authorities impounded all LATI aircraft still in the country. They included this SIAI-Marchetti SM.75, probably either I-BUEN or I-BLAN, photographed by American serviceman Louis A. Tyler at Recife in northern Brazil, in 1942.
Breda Ba 44 I-ORIO joined the Ala Littoria fleet in May 1935 and served on the organisation’s Albanian routes before being sequestered by the Regia Aeronautica in the spring of 1939. It operated with the latter as part of the 611a Squadriglia Trasporto of the Comando Aeronautica Albania on liaison and light transport duties in Albania.
Alitalia’s British partner BEA provided the Italian airline with one Avro Lancaster (for training) and five Lancastrian 3s for its long-distance routes. Formerly G-AHCE, Lancastrian I-DALR, named Borea, operated Alitalia’s inaugural Milan-Buenos Aires service via Dakar, Natal, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo on June 2, 1948.
Alitalia SM.95 I-DALL (c/n 11), named Marco Polo, over Rome. Four days after I-DALN’s inaugural service from Rome to London in April 1948, I-DALL operated the first Rome-Milan-London-Manchester service. The SM.95 was built to be robust and - reputedly - SIAI-Marchetti test pilot Aldo Moggi made a series of loops in one.
In July 1949 LATI inaugurated a fortnightly service between Rome and Caracas in Venezuela with a fleet of three SM.95s - I-LAIT, named Sant’ Antonio, I-LATI San Francesco (seen here) and I-LITA San Cristoforo. With the loss of I-LATI in November 1949, the remaining two SM.95s were taken over by Alitalia when LATI ceased operations.
After the war Alitalia acquired six state-of-the-art SIAI-Marchetti SM.95 four-engined airliners, the first two powered by Alfa Romeo 128 engines, but the remainder by Bristol Pegasus engines. This example, I-DALN, named Sebastiano Caboto, is seen at Northolt on the occasion of the airline’s inaugural Rome-London flight in April 1948.