Air Italy becomes latest carrier to cease operations

Air Italy ©AirTeamImages

Air Italy, part owned by Gulf carrier Qatar Airways, has entered into ‘liquidazione in bonis’ – the Italian liquidation system where the company will cease operations but will pay off outstanding debt and salaries.

The move means all flights after February 11 up to February 25 will be carried out by other airlines without any change to schedules, while flights after February 25 will either be fully refunded or covered by other carriers.

It was nearly two years ago that Sardinian carrier Meridiana was rebranded as Air Italy and after Qatar Airways had taken a 49% stake in the holding company AQA Holding. Alisarda, part of the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development holds the remaining 51% stake. The revamped airline had hoped to be carrying up to 10 million passengers by 2022 and had hoped to cash in on problems facing ailing Italian flag-carrying airline Alitalia.

After making Milan Malpensa its home hub, Air Italy made major changes to its route network commencing a long-haul service to Bangkok, Mumbai and Miami, adding New York JFK from Milan Malpensa, while ending routes to the US city from Naples and Palermo. In the end, Air Italy chose to cancel all flights to Bangkok, Mumbai and Delhi just months after launching and flights to Chicago were canceled before they even began. Instead, Air Italy added seasonal service to Los Angeles, San Francisco and Toronto to its network in 2019, announcing that there would be no new route launches to North America or Asia during summer 2020.

Air Italy operated a fleet of four Airbus A330-200s, one Boeing 737-700 and four 737-800s. It also had four grounded 737 MAX jets.

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