DOHA, Qatar – Meridiana, Italy’s private airline, has been rebranded Air Italy following Qatar Airways’ purchase of a 49% stake last year in AQA Holding the airline’s new parent company.
Meridiana previous sole shareholder, Alisarda, continues to hold 51% stake though AQA Holding.
During a press conference, earlier this week in Milan, Qatar Airways group chief executive, Akbar Al Baker, along with company executives unveiled Air Italy’s new brand identity while presenting the new airline’s business plan.
Air Italy aims to have a fleet of 50 aircraft by 2022 and is already committed to receiving 20 Boeing 737-Max aircraft starting this April 2018 along with five Airbus A330-200 aircraft from the Qatar Airways’ fleet to launch long-haul flights.
The A330s will phase out to make way for Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner aircraft commencing May 2019.
The airline will launch long-haul routes from Milan to New York and Miami to be followed by new short-haul routes connecting its home base Milan to Rome, Naples, Palermo, Catania and Lamezia Terme.
There are also plans to fly to long-haul destinations from Rome Fiumicino in 2019. Air Italy aims to fly more than 50 routes by 2022.
Meridiana’s chairman, Francesco Violante, commented: “Air Italy has an ambition to reach a goal of transporting 10 million passengers per year by 2022. We expect more than 8 million of these to use Milan Malpensa airport.
Meanwhile, Airlineroute advance timetable information suggests Meridiana will start flying to Bangkok this September, a destination not specifically mention during the Air Italy launch.
Under its registered name, Meridiana, the airline filed for rights to fly the Milan Malpensa to Bangkok route starting 9 September using an Airbus A330-200 (operated by Air Italy) It filed for four weekly services that will depart Milan at 1445 Wednesday, Friday and Sunday and arrive in Bangkok at 0650 on the following morning.
Another flight will depart Milan at 1855 on Monday and arrive in Bangkok at 1100 on the following day.