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The air baptism of a new plane is an event that always gives strong emotions.
On the 5th of March Albastar inaugurated its new Boeing B737 – 800 named after Pino D’Urso, the founder of the Airline Company.

That Aviation Italia decided to give its credit to this celebration interviewing Silvia Ruscitto, Customer Care & Press Office Manager of the Spanish Airline Company.


Hello Silvia and welcome! On the 5th of March, you have held a great event in Bergamo for the inauguration of a new plane. Are you extending the Albastar fleet?

Good morning Daniela, yes, exactly! On the 5th of March we “baptized” the second Boeing 737 800 next generation that joined our fleet . For the Boeing 737 800 – EC-MUB – the name “Pino D’Urso – Here we fly again” was chosen in order to celebrate and honour the memory of the company founder, whose business project brought to life an important reality, which is Albastar.
Our fleet is expanding, as well as the number of airports served, the Companies, the Tour Operators, the Brokers and the Clients who rely on us to schedule their flights.
Moreover, 2019 will be an important year for us and for our passengers: we are working to obtain the IOSA certification (International Operational Safety Audit). This means that our working methods guarantee the highest operational and safety standards.

It is a strong signal that indicates growth: how many planes does the Albastar fleet have today?

This aircraft together with three other Boeing 737 800 (all configured for 189 single class seats) and two Boeing 737 400 (170 single class seats) is the current commercial Albastar fleet.
A fifth Boeing 737 800 NG will join the fleet at the beginning of the winter season 2019-2020, in line with the development plan that provides for the total renewal of the fleet.

How was this event conducted and to whom it was addressed?

The event took place at Milan Bergamo Airport and brought together over 150 guests from authorities, commercial partners, journalists and photographers.
On the runway, the ceremony was presided by Mons. Giulio Dellavite, the general secretary of the Bishopric of Bergamo, who gave the blessing. And after cutting the tricolour ribbon, we embarked for a flight of about 45 minutes that gave an exciting experience to all our guests, with a breathtaking view of the Alps, lakes, valleys, in the blue and infinite sky where the memory of Pino D’Urso will continue to live and fly.
A brief press conference was held on board with the speeches of Daniela Caruso, the President of Albastar, Michael Harrington, the Managing Director and Giacomo Cattaneo, Aviation Director of Sacbo. After the landing, the aircraft was welcomed by a water cannon salute, a tribute from the Fire Department.
It was amazing to “live it” from the inside of the aircraft!
The choice of Milan Bergamo Airport for the official presentation of the new aircraft was not accidental, the airport, in fact, has become the second operating base of the carrier in terms of volume and traffic of two B737 -800 based at the airport during the whole year.

More or less a year ago, we interviewed Giancarlo Celani (Ed. CCO & Deputy CEO of Albastar) who emphasized the importance of the Religious Tourism for the company. Could you please briefly explain to us what is the peculiarity of this market segment?

The leisure segment represents our core business. Albastar is, in fact, the company chosen by some of the most prestigious European Tour Operators, Travel Agencies and Broker; but also, and above all the reference in Europe for the Religious Tourism, with both scheduled flights and charter connections. About 20% of the total turnover is produced by flights to/from Lourdes – both scheduled and charter flights.
For 2019 we expect over 450 flights, with about 80,000 passengers handled to/from Lourdes, with flights departing from Italy, United Kingdom, Ireland, Belgium, Switzerland and Spain.
If we are a European airline company of reference for Religious Tourism, it is not only because of the number of offered connections or for the number of pilgrims transported.
Over the years we have gained great experience in handling passengers with special needs.
The reasons for choosing Albastar to organize your own pilgrimage go far beyond simple flight management. On board our aircraft passengers will find staff available and attentive to the needs of each person, trained in hospitals specialized in care and management of people with reduced mobility, stretchers and those people who require specific assistance, in order to be able to offer each pilgrim who chooses to face his journey with us the best possible flying experience.

Do we, therefore, have to understand that these are the passengers who are often in delicate situations and for whom specific training is required?

Sometimes a small gesture is enough to change the day of the passenger. Perhaps a smile or a watchful gaze, a chat or a simple greeting addressed with kindness; but sometimes, special skills and equipment are required.
Albastar has contributed to making the airplane travelling accessible to many of those passengers who were afraid to take an airplane due to their assistance needs. Whatever their needs, the passengers are always at the centre of our work, and we developed a deep sensitivity towards them.
Being professional means, in fact, working with seriousness and dedication, and being prepared to face any situation during the flight and on the ground, while offering adequate assistance in every aspect of the flight, from booking to arrival to the destination.

How is the training of the cabin crew overseen?

We are trained to offer specific assistance and manage critical situations for the SCP (Special Category Passengers) passengers.
Our mission is to understand the needs of all of our passengers and to ensure them the best flight experience. For this reason, we collaborate with the leading European organizations for the transportation of disabled people and we periodically carry out training courses in a special centre in Toledo specializing in care and management of people with reduced mobility.

You have also recently renewed your website: You can almost feel the brisk atmosphere in Albastar! Is there something changing in Communication?

Yes, you’re right, the news takes off!
We have completely redesigned in the “fluid” layout and, therefore, optimized for a perfect website visualization from any device. The new Albastar website tries to get as close as possible to the needs of the users by respecting their wishes regarding usability.
Attractive design, easy and intuitive navigation, but above all the contents. The latter has been enriched and reorganized to be even clearer and more effective, accompanying passengers through all the steps of the travel experience: from useful information of flight’s organization (also for what concerns passengers with special needs, children, animals but also the information for Tour Operators, Companies or Associations that want to totally customize the trip), to booking seats, but also the post-flight assistance, which starting from today, is totally manageable online.
The new website, besides from being a sales channel for our scheduled flights, was born with the intention of making passengers understand easier and effectively “why they should rely on Albastar “: it is a very useful tool that makes itself the spokesman of all our values, because it communicates the concept “because we care”, which summarizes the efforts made by the company to offer a pleasant and serene flight experience, on a comfortable and tidy aircraft, while being pampered by a competent staff that loves making every passenger feel good, whatever their needs.
Always with a view to getting closer to the user, the site is fully integrated with social networks, through which it is possible to enrich browsing experience and have a virtual assistant capable of answering the main questions of passengers.

Silvia, do you also have a magazine on board?

Albastar does not yet have its own in-flight magazine… but having said that the news is taking off, I can let it slip that we are already working on a new project!
So far, we have had partnerships with existing editorial products, which were customized for us, but it is time to develop a more in-depth editorial proposal, which will be able to tell more about our world at high altitude and, while quickly crossing the clouds, can be a pleasant entertainment for our passengers.

Albastar and That Aviation Italia have a long collaboration for what concerns charter flights for both incentive and sporting events (flights for supporters, team transfers): which passengers are the most “capricious” and or more difficult to manage?

For us, That Aviation Italia is not just a historical client, but over the years and thanks to the relationship of trust and esteem, and to the experience and dedication that unites us, we have become, together, a point of reference for some of the most important companies and Sports Associations.
Organizing flights for customers of different types and with ever-increasing demands is complex and requires great flexibility. I believe that the strong point in our collaboration is always that of a constructive comparison and the lack of rigidity: our goal is to offer totally customized on-demand flights; maximum coordination of all aspects of the journey and the attention to every single detail. Everything is designed to offer customers the perfect flight and maximum satisfaction …
And the results are rewarding: we are doing a great job together!


That Aviation Italia: the quality broker.

For any further information and flight price quotation please contact us.

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