Italian carrier Meridiana is now Air Italy after a name change sparked by its new shareholder Qatar Airways. The hope is that Air Italy succeeds bankrupt Alitalia to become the new Italian flagship carrier. The carrier announced plans for the addition of 20 B737 MAX aircraft as well as five A330-200 leases from Qatar. Milan Malpensa will continue to act as the hub for the carrier with new flights to Bangkok, New York, and Miami added by the end of the year as well as enhanced domestic connections.
At a press conference in Milan yesterday, Qatar CEO said
“Air Italy will achieve global scale in both fleet and network expansion … We will show that we are the star.”
The Gulf carrier sponsorship is ironic as Alitalia, previously backed by Etihad, continues to work through its bankruptcy after Etihad said last year that it was done supporting the troubled airline.
50 new aircrafts, 10 million passengers by 2020 and 50 destinations by the end of this year. #Meridiana thanks to #QatarAirways investments becomes today #AirItaly, a new airline company that will be the pride of #Italy in the world 🇮🇹🇶🇦 pic.twitter.com/veiwenEaWJ
— Italy in Qatar (@ItalyinQatar) February 19, 2018
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