Alitalia, today re-launched its Johannesburg-Rome route after 17 years away, making it the only carrier to host a direct flight between the two cities.

“We [the city of Ekhuruleni] are extremely excited at the return of Alitalia after a 16-year absence from our skies. The reintroduction of Alitalia is a welcome boost to our ambition of attracting more investment to boost the economy of our region, and create more needed jobs in our city,” said City Manager of Ekhuruleni, Imogen Mashazi. The flight would ensure that more people were introduced to the brand Ekhuruleni, and South Africa at large, she said. “Even more important is the fact that that this move will expose us to more international investors and visitors who, I am sure, will find Ekhuruleni to be the best place to live, play and invest.”

The airline will operate a 250-seat Airbus A330-200 configured in Magnifica business class, premium economy and economy class. Initially it will operate four times a week, with the possibility of increasing the schedule, depending on demand.