Air Italy spreads wings

One of Air Italy’s new aircraft is Airbus A330-202 EI-GFX (msn 571), formerly operated by Qatar Airways, the 49% shareholder in the recently rebranded Italian carrier.
Marco Finelli

Air Italy is undertaking a major international expansion. The carrier has started its first long-haul services with new routes from Milan- Malpensa to New York JFK and Miami using Airbus A330-200s. Other services from Milan to Bangkok and Mumbai will follow from September and October respectively.

Air Italy is the rebranded Sardinian airline Meridiana and is 49% owned by Qatar Airways. As the aviation consultancy CAPA recently noted, the renaming is a further example of a current trend in Europe to use national branding for new airlines. Other start-up carriers across the continent named in this way include Air Albania, Air Belgium, Blue Slovakia, FlyBosnia, Air Andorra and Italian Airways.

In line with its network expansion, Air Italy’s fleet is undergoing an overhaul. Three more A330-200s and three further Boeing 737 MAX 8s are due to arrive by the end of the year (the carrier currently has two A330-200s, one 737 MAX 8, eight 737-800s and three 767-300s, with the latter aircraft due to be phased out by the end of the year). The airline is planning to receive 50 new aircraft by 2022, including more Boeing 737 MAX-series jets and Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners from 2019. Mark Broadbent