Economy

Meridiana airline aims at becoming Italy's leading carrier

Meridiana airline aims at becoming Italy's leading carrier

Italian airline Meridiana, minority owned by Qatar Airways, will rebrand as Air Italy as it moves to take on ailing national carrier Alitalia.

Air Italy was put under new ownership past year after Qatar Airways bought a 49 percent stake in AQA Holding, with the previous owner Alisarda retaining 51 percent.

However, the carrier started bankruptcy proceedings previous year for the second time in a decade, after saying it will no longer invest in the faltering airline. "We will show that we are the star", said Qatar Airways group CEO, Akbar Al Baker, presenting the airline's development plans. "Qatar Airways is known the world over as the best airline in the world, as voted for in Skytrax 2017", said Mr. Al-Baker.

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Qatar Airways snapped up Meridiana late last year and plans to lease 20 brand new Boeing 737 MAX aircraft to the rebranded Air Italy in the coming years. Previously, the Meridiana fleet consisted of Boeings 767 and Boeings 737 only, according to the company's profile. Air Italy will benefit from Meridiana's extensive network, which connects the main Italian airports with Sardinia and provides connectivity with hubs in Europe, as well as in the United States and Africa. And in 2019, Air Italy will add its first long-haul flights from Rome.

The image above was posted on the carrier's Twitter page, along with photos from a press conference held in Milan today. The incorporation into the branding of the "new airline" of colors associated with Qatar Airways would appear to be a strategy to assist in this elevation.

It has been reported over the months since Alitalia's bankruptcy was announced that interested buyers for all or part of Alitalia have included Ryanair, Easyjet, Lufthansa, and Etihad.


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