Air Italy

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Air Italy
Air Italy logo.svg
IATA ICAO Callsign
IG ISS AIR ITALY
Founded19 February 2018; 19 months ago (2018-02-19)
Commenced operations1 March 2018
AOC #EY0F937F[1]
HubsMilan Malpensa Airport
Frequent-flyer program@MyAirItalyClub
(Part of Avios Loyalty program)
Subsidiaries
  • Air Italy Fleet Management
  • Meridiana Maintenance
  • Wokita
Fleet size13
Destinations26
Company sloganImagine The World Differently
Parent companyAQA Holding S.p.A
HeadquartersOlbia, Sassari, Italy
Key people
  • Francesco Violante (Chairman)
  • Rossen Dimitrov (COO)
Websitewww.airitaly.com

Air Italy (registered as AIR ITALY S.p.A.) [2] is a privately owned Italian airline, headquartered in Olbia. The company is the second largest airline in Italy, following Alitalia (Italy's flag carrier), and the 39th largest airline in Europe. The airline is a subsidiary of AQA Holding, owned by Alisarda (51%) and Qatar Airways (49%). The airline operates a fleet of Boeing 737 Next Generation, Boeing 737 MAX 8 and Airbus A330 aircraft to over 34 scheduled domestic, European and intercontinental destinations. The airlines operates with its main hub at Milan Malpensa Airport.

History[edit]

Air Italy Boeing 737-800 in a hybrid livery inherited from Meridiana

The airline establishment[edit]

The company was established on 19 February 2018, during a press conference in Milan, Italy announcing the future of Meridiana by merging the airline and its subsidiary, the original Air Italy, which was part of Meridiana Brand since 2013, to create the new Air Italy.[3] The focus of the company was to introduce a new Italian airline which would be stable to be the future flagship carrier of Italy, as Air Italy's competitor Alitalia, Italy's current flag carrier, filed for Administration since 2 May 2017. The plan also introduce a new brand image, new cabin experience, new airport lounge and new destinations. During the press conference the airline expressed interest in joining Oneworld.[4] The airline also announced that Qatar Airways would have a Codeshare agreement with the airline.[5]

All official branding and business of the new Air Italy took effect on March 1, 2018. The Meridiana IATA, ICAO, and AOC code merged into the new Air Italy. The airline website was relaunched with the re-branding. Aircraft transferred from Meridiana still used the Meridiana livery although some were repainted with a hybrid livery.[6] Meridiana codeshare agreements and slots were transfers under the new Air Italy brand.

2010's[edit]

In April 2018, Air Italy and Qatar Airways successfully launched their planned codeshare on selected flights.[7][8] On 18 April 2018 the airline appointed Neil Mills as Chief Operating Officer (COO) who worked with the recently bankrupt airline Air Berlin.[9][10] and introduced Rossen Dimitrov as Chief Customer Experience Officer (CCEO) on 22 April 2018.[11][12] On 22 April 2018, Air Italy became the official Italian launch customer of the Boeing 737 MAX 8 with the first aircraft fully painted, introduced to the public on Air Italy's social media pages.[13] The airline first Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft was delivered at a handover ceremony at Boeing's Everett Delivery Centre in Seattle with Boeing executives on 11 May 2018.[14] The airline celebrated the delivery of the first Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft on 14 May 2018 after the aircraft was handed over to Air Italy in Seattle, The airline held a special press conference in a hangar at its Milan–Malpensa hub. The airline also introduced the official uniforms.[15]

On 1 June 2018, Air Italy successfully began the launch of its new Milan Malpensa Airport to John F. Kennedy International Airport flight with the airline's first Airbus A330-200, along with the new international long-haul flight the flight also marked the launch of its new seatback entertainment platform, onboard amenities and meals services.[16] Air Italy continued expand operations successfully launching more routes and services. In July 2018, Air Italy attended the Farnborough Airshow showcasing its 2nd Boeing 737 MAX 8, making it the first time Air Italy attended the airshow.[17] On 20 September 2018, Air Italy released its first summer season report. The airline stated that it had reached 90% load factor on the new US routes and carried more than 500,000 passengers to and from Sardinia. On the back of the successful results, the airline announced new frequencies.[18]

On 3 October 2018, Air Italy Chief Operating Officer (COO), Neil Mills, resigned due to personal reasons. Effective immediately Rossen Dimitrov, formerly Air Italy's Chief Customer Experience Officer (CCEO) was appointed as the airline's new COO with immediate effect.[19][20] In October 2018, Air Italy officially announced 3 appointments to senior positions. Elisabeth Milton as Vice President of Sales and Distribution, Nicola Pozzati as Chief Human Resources and Organisation Officer, and Simona Paccioretti as Head of Internal Auditing.[21][22] Further executive appointments were made on the 29 October 2018 with Captain Konstantinos Iliakis brought in as Accountable Manager and Chief Flight and Ground Operations Officer.[23][24] On 21 November 2018, Air Italy appointed Valentina Quagliata with the title of SVP for Network, Planning, and Strategy.[25][26] On the same day, Air Italy also officially announced an official codeshare agreement with LATAM Brasil, effective immediately for selected flights between Italy and São Paulo–Guarulhos International Airport.[27][28][29]

In December 2018, Air Italy announced the official launch of its Milan Malpensa to Indira Gandhi International Airport and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport, India.[30] Along with official Launch of India routes, Air Italy announce 4 new routes to North America. Flights from Milan Malpensa to Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Chicago in the United States and Milan Malpensa to Toronto, Canada.[31][32][33]

On 11 February 2019, Air Italy announced frequency increase on flights to Toronto and Miami.[34] On 15 February 2019, Air Italy announced it would sponsor the Toronto Pride as official European carrier.[35] On 19 February 2019, Air Italy received an award for Business Traveller Cellar in the sky 2018 award.[36] On 25 February 2019, Air Italy announces it's the official carrier of Gelato Festival 2019.[37] On 28 February 2019, Air Italy signed a third codeshare agreements with Bulgaria Air.[38] On 12 March 2019, during the Boeing 737 MAX groundings, Air Italy grounded all their Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft after an order by the European Aviation Safety Agency.[39] Two days after the grounding, Air Italy's codeshare partner Bulgaria Air leased an A319 to Air Italy.[40]

On 14 March 2019, Air Italy announced that Sergio Boscarol, Head of Corporate and Commercial HR at Alitalia (Air Italy's Competitor & Italy's Flag Carrier) is appointed as Chief Human Resources and Organization Officer for the airline.[41] On 3 April 2019, Air Italy successfully launched its Milan to Los Angeles International Airport flight along launching its new Business class on-board experience.[42][43] Later in the month, on 10 April 2019 Air Italy launched its new Milan to San Francisco International Airport flight. On 18 April 2019, Air Italy made a public statement regarding the allegations from the United States top 3 airlines (Delta, American Airlines, and United) that Air Italy is used a Fifth Freedom airline of Qatar Airways.[44] Later that week, Air Italy also made an announcement of its upcoming winter routes and also announced that Air Italy flights to Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Toronto will be seasonal.[45][46] On 6 May 2019, Air Italy launched its third North American destination from Milan to Toronto Pearson International Airport.[47] Later in the month, Air Italy announced a new partnership with comedienne Caroline Reid (known as Pam Ann) who will be Air Italys Global brand Ambassador.[48] On 17 May 2019, Air Italy announced a rebranding of its frequent-flyer program, Meridiana Club to @MyAirItalyClub.[49]

On 14 June 2019, Air Italy has signed a Special Prorate Agreement with Alaska Airlines adding more connections to 10 new US/Mexico Destinations including Anchorage, Honolulu, Las Vegas, Seattle, Portland, Palm Springs, San Diego, Newark, San Jose (CA) and Guadalajara (Mexico).[50] 5 July 2019 Air Italy announce their winter schedule along with the new destinations to Maldives, Tenerife, Mombasa and Zanzibar.[51] Air Italy announced the adoption of Face Track at their Milan Malpensa hub and Linate airport on 8 July 2019.[52][53] 10 July 2019, Air Italy signed a second Special Prorate Agreement with Aegean Airlines with new connections to Athens.[54]

On 10 September 2019, Air Italy was awarded Four Stars in annual APEX passenger ratings.[55] On the following day (11 September 2019), Air Italy launched a new inflight menus and inflight services for economy passengers on long-haul flight.[56] On 17 September 2019, Air Italy received the award for most LGBTQ+ friendly Italian airline.[57] On 29 September 2019, Air Italy announced that they have been awarded two Awards at AIR Convention Europe in Lithuania for Diversity Award & Most Captivating Marketing Project award.[58] On the 27 September 2019, Air Italy hosted a dinner gala on their upcoming launch of their winter routes presented by Air Italys COO, Rossen Dimitrov and Air Italy Vice President Sales and Distribution, Morena Bronzetti. [59]

Corporate affairs[edit]

Parent Company[edit]

Air Italy's official Parent Company AQA Holding S.p.A. Founded on 2 September 2017 after Qatar Airways purchased a 49% stake in Meridiana (later rebranding as the new Air Italy), with Alisarda keeping the 51% stake that it previously owned, which subsequently created the new holding company under the agreement with Meridiana's Board of Directors.[2]

Head Offices[edit]

Air Italy Headquarters near Olbia Costa Smeralda Airport.

Air Italy's head offices are located on the property of Olbia Costa Smeralda Airport in Olbia, Italy, formerly owned by Meridiana.

Subsidiaries[edit]

Air Italy currently maintain three subsidiaries, inherited from Meridiana after a merger with the former Air Italy to form a new airline.[60]

  • Meridiana Maintenance S.p.A. is the airline maintenance company that was founded after Meridiana merged with eurofly (another Italian airline). Their hangar is located at Olbia Costa Smeralda Airport in Olbia, Italy next to the Air Italy Head Offices. On 10 September 2018 it was announced that Air Italy would be insourcing Meridiana Maintenance as of 1 October 2018.[61]
  • Wokita S.i.r is another subsidiary that Air Italy owns. Wokita is a tour operator that offers a wide and extensive range of tourism products such as package tours, flights, hotels and resorts in seaside areas, yachting and activity holidays.[62]
  • Air Italy Fleet Management is another subsidiary, a temporarily created company (formerly the original Air Italy). It will only be in operation until all the original Meridiana (Boeing B737-700, B737-800, B767-300ER) aircraft leases are expired.[63]

Corporate identity[edit]

The Air Italy logo is designed with maroon and mint green colors. The colours are loosely based on the maroon from the Qatar Airways logo.[64] The airline has a specialty design the letter "Y" to look looking somewhat similar to a bird. The airline's livery is a modern white fuselage with the airline logo across the fuselage in a billboard style livery. It also includes a collage of their special designed "Y" letter taken from the logo, on the vertical fin. The letter Y is also present on the aircraft engines.[65]

Sponsorships[edit]

Air Italy sponsors one professional sports team: the Italian basketball team Dinamo Sassari.[66][67]

Controversies[edit]

The United States' top 3 airlines, Delta, American Airlines, and United made allegations concerning Air Italy regarding its ownership and its operation since its support from Qatar Airways. Air Italy made a public statement on the issue with a press release on 18 April 2019.[44][68] Ed Bastian, Chief executive officer of Delta posted an opt ed article on the airline back in December 2018 claiming due to Qatar is a state-funded airline of the Government of Qatar is supporting a near to bankrupt Italian airline "putting thousands of American jobs at risk".[69] A couple of US politicians wrote letters to United States Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, on the situation with Qatar going against a United States-Qatar Open Skies Policy.[70] Air Italy and Qatar Airways denied the allegations and stated that this allegation is because Qatar Airways own 49% stake in Air Italy's Parent Company.[71]

Destinations[edit]

As of February 2019, Air Italy operates to 21 year-round and 5 seasonal destinations in Europe, Africa, Asia and North America. Air Italy aims to fly more than 50 year-round routes by 2022 stated in the airline's 5-year plan. The airline operates most of their flights out of their main hub at Milan Malpensa Airport, and a second operation network out of their focus city at Olbia Costa Smeralda Airport.

Codeshare agreements[edit]

Air Italy has codeshare agreements with the following airlines:[72]

Special Prorate Agreement[edit]

Air Italy has a Special Prorate Agreement agreements with the following airlines:

Fleet[edit]

Air Italy Airbus A330-200

As of August 2019, the Air Italy fleet consists of the following aircraft:[77][78][79][80]

Air Italy Fleet
Aircraft In Service Orders Passengers Notes
C Y Total
Airbus A330-200 5 2 24 228 252 Additional aircraft to be transferred from Qatar Airways.[81]
Boeing 737-700 1 149 149 To be replaced by Boeing 737 MAX 8.[82]
In service however due to the ongoing groundings of the MAX
Boeing 737-800 4 189 189
Boeing 737 MAX 8 3 17[83] 12 174 186 Italian Launch Customer.
To replace older Boeing 737-700 and -800 aircraft.
Currently all fleets are grounded.
Total 13 17

Historical fleet[edit]

Air Italy previously operated the following aircraft types:

Air Italy Historical Fleet
Aircraft Total Introduced Retired Replacement Notes
Boeing 767-300ER 3 2018 2019 Airbus A330-200 Taken over from predecessor Meridiana.

Fleet development[edit]

After rebranding into Air Italy, Boeing 737 aircraft previously operated by Meridiana were initially used to operate the airline's route network. Air Italy planned to develop its fleet by operating 50 new aircraft by 2022, through sub-leasing 20 Boeing 737 MAX 8s and 30 Boeing 787-8s from Qatar Airways, with entry into service between 2018 and 2022. From 2018 to 2019, Qatar Airways planned to lease five of its own Airbus A330-200s to Air Italy at market rate, with Boeing 787-8s transferred to Air Italy from mid-2019 after the delivery of Boeing 787-9s to Qatar Airways during the same period.[84] The airline claims that due to delays in the delivery of Qatar Airways' Boeing 787-9s, the planned transferral of Qatar's Boeing 787-8s to Air Italy was delayed, resulting in the airline choosing instead to expand its long-haul operations with additional Airbus A330s from Qatar Airways. Additionally, after the airline's first three Boeing 737 MAX 8s were grounded, the possibility of transitioning to an Airbus narrowbody fleet was considered.[81]

Services[edit]

In-flight Entertainment[edit]

In-flight entertainment is only available on Air Italy's Airbus A330 aircraft, which are equipped with personal seat-back television screens and USB charging ports at every seat. Passengers can explore a wide variety of movies, TV shows, and music in both Italian and English for free. The A330 aircraft also offer in-flight satellite Wi-Fi for an additional fee, allowing for browsing the Internet, phone calls, and SMS or MMS messaging, depending on the size of the data package purchased.[85] For business class passengers, 60MB of complimentary WiFi data is provided.[86]

Business Class[edit]

Business class is offered on Air Italy's Airbus A330 and Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. Business class on the Airbus A330 is configured with flat bed seats with 78 inches (1.98m) of pitch in a 2-2-2 layout, while the Boeing 737 MAX is configured with seats in a 3-3 layout identical to that of economy class, but with the middle seat blocked.[86][87] On flights operated by the Airbus A330, an amenity kit by Italian brands Fedon and Acca Kappa along with designer pajamas and slippers are provided, and an extensive, personalized meal service is offered.[16][86][88] All business class seats are also equipped with AC power ports.

Economy class[edit]

Economy class on the Airbus A330 is fitted with slimline seats with 31 to 36 inches (71 to 91 cm) of pitch in a 2-4-2 layout,[89] while economy class on the Boeing 737 and 737 MAX are fitted with seats with 30 to 32 inches (76 to 81 cm) of pitch in a 3-3 layout. AC power ports are available, but only on the airline's Airbus A330 and Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. On medium and long-haul flights, a complementary meal is served, while short-haul flights offer a complementary drinks service with additional snacks.[88]

In-flight Magazine[edit]

Air Italy's in-flight magazine is called Atmosphere, inherited from its predecessor Meridiana. As of August 2019, it is produced by travel media experts Ink based in the UK Ink (company)

Frequent-flyer program[edit]

@MyAirItalyClub is Air Italy's frequent-flyer program, which was launched on 17 May 2019.[49] Through the program, customers can earn Avios points from Air Italy flights, which can also be earned or redeemed with partner airlines British Airways and Iberia, as well as partner car rentals, hotel bookings, news subscriptions, utilities, and more.[90][91] The program was formerly known as Meridiana Club.

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External links[edit]

Media related to Air Italy at Wikimedia Commons