Time Traveller: Alitalia, 1966

Time Traveller: Alitalia, 1966

Advertisements from Italy's national carrier brimming with promises of a time when anything was possible

Sumeet Keswani
October 07 , 2016
01 Min Read

The heady Sixties were also heady days for aviation. Airlines were expanding their footprints rapidly across the globe and their advertising campaigns reflected this dutifully. In 1960, Alitalia, or Alitalia—Società Aerea Italiana to give it its full name, was recognised as Italy’s national carrier when it became the official airline for the Rome Olympics that summer. The same year, the airline got its first jets (DC-8 and Caravelle) and the number of passengers exceeded one million for the first time. In 1969, Alitalia became the first European airline to boast an all-jet fleet. These advertisements, which we unearthed from a couple of copies of Life magazine from the late 1960s, are brimming with inducements. The one which shows a rather picturesque silk factory in Bangkok prattles on about Alitalia’s new ARCO electronic reservations system and the fact that they take off or touch down in 97 cities around the world every two minutes daily. Those were clearly times when anything was possible. Especially when something as glamorous as an airline was involved. They could even guarantee rhino sightings. If Alitalia hadn’t been faced with bankruptcy three years ago (although they hope to be back in the black soon), we’re sure the writers in this issue could have used a little help with their tiger sightings.

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