At the end of the war, the airport was completely rennovated, and on the 5th of May 1947, the 1,000 x 60 metres asphalt runway denominated “3-0” saw the restart of commercial airline activity with the first post-war Italian flights between Turin and Rome with the FIAT G.12. aircraft.
This same runway also saw the maiden flights of the first transport aircraft prototypes for the newly-formed “Avio Linee Italiane” immediately after the war, becoming the runway of Turin’s main airport up until 1953 when commercial aviation began to operate out of Caselle airport.
A tragic premonitory event occurred in April 1948. It was described in the columns of “La Stampa” on April 20 by Vittorio Pozzo, an exceptional jounalist, who reported that a g.212 belonging to Aero Linee Italiane returning from London with the Turin youth squad aboard landed “long” on the Aeritalia runway 12. It failed to stop in time, and ran into the hangar at the end of the runway where it hit the rear wall.
Fortunately, its speed was reasonably low and only material damage was reported. There were no injuries and the boys all emerged unscathed, despite the fright.
But fate repeated itself and relentlessly took its course. It was in fact at this same point that the fans of the “Grande Torino” team waited in vain to welcome back their idols on the day of the Superga tragedy. At 5.05 pm on May 4, 1949 their FIAT G.212 carrying the entire team, the managers and the staff, with captain Pierluigi Meroni at the controls, crashed into the rear embankment of the Basilica of Superga, killing all aboard.
At the end of the war, it was thanks to Engineer Enrico Rolandi that the few remaining aircraft of the Aero Club fleet were collected and returned to flying condition at the FIAT Airfield at Aeritalia. In 1950, when the glorious airport at Mirafiori South was definitively closed - first due to the war damage and then due to building speculation - FIAT made the northern part of the Aeritalia airfield available to the Aero Club. Here, the small fleet was accommodated in the hangars of FIAT’s “Aircraft Section” at corso Marche.
This operation took place during the Presidency of Dr Francesco Balbis (co-founder with his brother-in-law Senator Guglielmone of the Torinese bank “Balbis & Guglielmone”).
Late 40s. Bird's eye view of runay 30 with gliders and aircraft lined up at the ''Aeritalia'' airport of the FIAT aircraft factory in Corso Marche. In the background, the building of the Belia farmhouse can be seen. This as later to become the headquarters of the Turin Flying club.
On the morning of the 5th of May 1947, the first flight of the newly-formed Alitalia took off from the Aeritalia airport on the Turin-Rome (Urbe)-Catania route with 18 people aboard. The aircraft was a FIAT G.12CA trimotor (registered ASI-DAHL ), named “Alcione” and with the company’s chief pilot, Col. Virginio Reinero at the controls.
Constituted on the 16th of September 1946 as Aerolinee Italiane Internazionali (Alitalia) and capitalised 40% by BEA (British European Airways), 40% by iri and the remaining 20% by private funds, including FIAT, the company fleet initially consisted of four FIAT G.12’s and four Savoia Marchetti SM.95C’S. These were followed by three British-made Avro Lancastrians that same year.
However, these aircraft needed a much longer runway for takeoff, therefore the Rome base was transferred from Urbe to Ciampino.
The first international flight (destination Oslo) was made by an SM.95C on the 6th of July 1947. By the end of the year, the company network had 7 destinations for a total of 9,185 km, and had carried more than 10,000 passengers.
Finally, on the 23rd of May 1948, the first intercontinental route was established with Buenos Aires using the Lancastrian.
So the story of Alitalia which began in Turin has reached the present day, with alternating fortunes.
In 1948 also Viberti attempted the construction of a touring aircraft, setting up the company Ali Viberti SpA in Turin.
Ali Viberti SpA promoted the construction of the “Viberti Musca 1”, designed by engineer Franco Muscariello. This was a low-wing monoplane, powered by a CNA DIV opposed 4-cylinder, air-cooled 60 HP engine, with a speed of 185 km/h and an autonomy of about 600 km, having a service ceiling of just under 14,000 feet.
Built entirely of wood (with the exception of the fin and tailplanes that were in aluminum), the shell fuselage had a side-by-side two-seater cabin. It was equipped with a fixed landing gear and careened wheels and could also be fitted with skis or floats.
The total production was only 11 units.
In 1951 the “Viberti Musca 1bis” variant was produced with a new engine, sporting a Walter Mikron iii in place of the Continental.
Two further evolutions of the aircraft were then projected, the four-seater “Viberti Musca 2” and the “Viberti Musca 3” with a 200 HP engine, but neither were produced due to the company being wound up.
Between the years 1950 and 1970, the Aero Club Torino underwent its golden period under the Presidency of “The Advocate” Giovanni Agnelli.
This is neither the time nor the place to try to do justice to the charisma and world-wide fame of this man, but merely to mention that he was a passionate aviator and took over the office of President with enthusiasm, enlisting the cooperation of loyal and expert operational Vice-Presidents such as Solaroli, Brach Papa, Catella, Casana. His Presidency brought a period of unparalleled growth and prosperity to the Club.
In May 1954, with the resolution of the FIAT signed by Professor Valletta, the transfer of the offices of the Aero Club to the Aeritalia airfield in the north of the field (near Cascina Berlia) was assumed. This was made definitive in November 1956, and the reorganization and the restructuring work of the building was entrusted to the architect Carlo Mollino. The cost of the entire operation, some 38 million lire, was borne by FIAT.
The new premises with the control tower (architect: Carlo Mollino)
In 1955 the Torino-Aeritalia airfield was opened to national light aircraft traffic.
The concession for the use of the buildings, hangars and airfield surface by the Aero Club was contractually formalized on the 5th of April 1958. With this act, the Aero Club accepted the fairly onerous burden of managing the airfield, something it has continued to do ever since.
Thus in July 1959 (with the new office accommodation now complete) the Aero Club of Turin finally abandoned its old premises in Via San Francesco d’Assisi 14 and moved into its new ones at No. 500, Strada della Berlia.
The inauguration ceremony (with the President Giovanni Agnelli, the Vice-President Baron Casana and the entire board of directors present) saw speeches by a number of military and civil authorities such as the Undersecretary of State Giuseppe Bovetti, representing the Government, General Bianchi representing the Air Force and Cardinal Maurilio Fossati who blessed the field. During the ceremony, the field was dedicated to Edoardo Agnelli, who died in an aircraft accident on the 14th of July 1935 when the siai s.80 seaplane he was in was damaged during an attempt to land in the sea near Genoa (the pilot, Arturo Ferrarin, was uninjured in the crash).
July 1959. Aerial view of the lineup during the inauguration ceremony. In the background the Runway “30” and the FIAT Aeritalia factory are visible
July 1959.Cardinal Maurilio Fossati blesses
July 1959. Giovanni Agnelli giving the inaugural
July 1959. The large crowd which attended
1960. The second hangar under construction