Italy’s Meridiana Rebrands as Air Italy and Announces Major Expansion

by Barbara Peterson
Italy’s Meridiana Rebrands as Air Italy and Announces Major Expansion

Photo: Air Italy.


Italian airline Meridiana said it will change its name to “Air Italy” and will embark on a major expansion backed by new shareholder Qatar Airways, in a clear bid to take on the country’s reigning but ailing flag carrier, Alitalia.

Known mainly for leisure flights to Rome, Sicily and other popular destinations, Meridiana’s fortunes changed recently when Qatar said it would buy a 49 percent stake in the Milan-based carrier.

Air Italy, which now has a dozen planes, will grow to a fleet of 50 aircraft by 2022, executives from both Meridiana and Qatar announced last week. They also unveiled a new livery, which, with its shades of purple, bears an uncanny resemblance to the design scheme of Qatar Airways’ own jets. Among the new planes are 20 Boeing 737 Max jets as well as Airbus A330 and Boeing 787 widebodies for long-haul routes.

Qatar Airways CEO Akbar al-Baker said his aim is to make Air Italy the country’s top airline. “We want to become the number one airline brand in Italy, and we have the resources to accomplish this goal,” adding “we will show that we are the star.”

Air Italy plans to start flying from Milan to both Miami and New York by this June; and will boost its domestic network with new flights from Milan to Catania, Naples, Palermo, and Rome — plus the small Calabrian town of Lamezia Terme — this year.

Another Middle East airline, however, has already lost a significant investment in Italy’s airline business: Etihad was until recently a major shareholder in Alitalia, which last year effectively put itself up for sale — while the Italian government threw the legacy carrier a lifeline in the form of a bridge loan. That loan has kept the airline afloat, barely, while the carrier entertained offers from an assortment of possible suitors, ranging from Lufthansa to Ryanair. 

The Italian government recently said it was hoping to strike a deal to sell the airline before the country’s next elections, which are due to take place Mar. 4.

  0
  0
Tip of the Day

I do think there are possibilities for traveler advisors to make money doing domestic trips. I charge a planning fee for my time and expertise, and then book commissionable hotels and activities that meet the client’s needs.

Terri Weeks

Daily Top List

Best Places to Travel for the Spring of 2019

1. Aegean Islands

2. Barcelona

3. Cancun

4. Grand Canyon

5. Keukenhof Gardens

Source: CNN

TMR THIS WEEK
http://services.travelsavers.com/AMGService.svc/REST/GetImage?ImageID=46d9854c-8d33-e911-b4aa-782bcb66a2f2

Give a Heads-Up, Get a Leg-Up in Business

Harness your knowledge, share your tips, and leave your clients wondering what else you know that they don’t.

TMR Recommendations
Top Stories
Brazil Waives Entry Visa Requirements for US and Canadian Citizens
Brazil Waives Entry Visa Requirements for US and Canadian Citizens

The news means that citizens of the U.S., Canada, Australia, and Japan, all considered “strategic for the development of tourism” in Brazil, will no longer need to apply or pay for a visa.

First Look: British Airways’ New Business Class Club Suite
First Look: British Airways’ New Business Class Club Suite

A new seating configuration, 40 percent more storage space, and a suite door for privacy are among the suite upgrades.

Spring Break: How It Began and Where Travelers Are Headed This Year
Spring Break: How It Began and Where Travelers Are Headed This Year

The college spring vacation period creates a boomlet in travel late-February through mid-April, with Florida as the most popular destination.

Six New Reasons to Visit Washington, D.C., in 2019
Six New Reasons to Visit Washington, D.C., in 2019

Cherry blossom season always reminds us that Washington, D.C. is a great destination, but in 2019, you can plan a whole trip using the amazing new hotels and venues coming online.

New Details on Universal Orlando’s New Hagrid-Themed Coaster Ride
New Details on Universal Orlando’s New Hagrid-Themed Coaster Ride

Aboard flying motorbikes, guests will encounter magical creatures as the zip through the Forbidden Forest. 

Disney’s Star Wars: Galaxy Edge to Open Ahead of Schedule
Disney’s Star Wars: Galaxy Edge to Open Ahead of Schedule

Dates for the opening of the newest addition have been announced for both Disneyland Resort in Southern California and Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida.

News Briefs
TMR Report Cards & Outlooks
Advertiser's Voice
Advertiser's Voice: The Northern Lights of Finland