Air Italy has announced the bolstering of its alliance with Qatar Airways. From August 2nd, Air Italy’s “IG” code will be added to Qatar flights between Doha and Sydney.
According to Routes Online the details of the new codeshare partnership are as follows:
QR906/IG9140 DOH0910 – 0630+1SYD 77W D
QR908/IG9138 DOH2035 – 1755+1SYD 388 D
QR907/IG9141 SYD1545 – 2355DOH 77W D
QR909/IG9139 SYD2115 – 0515+1DOH 388 D
Qatar and Air Italy have code-shared since the latter’s conception in 2018. IG flights shared with Qatar include those between Doha and Rome (Fiumicino), Pisa, Venice, Singapore and the Maldives. QR flights shared with Air Italy include those between Milan and Fiumicino, Naples, Olbia and Lamezia.
The latest addition to Air Italy’s destination portfolio represents a further shake-up of the old order by the year-old private airline.
Air Italy came about in 2018 after 56-year-old Meridiana and its charter subsidiary (the old Air Italy) merged. Re-branding followed shortly after the joint investments of Italy’s Alisarda and Qatar Airways.
In the same breath, Air Italy and the state-owned flag carrier announced their intention to codeshare. It was to be an agreement that would offer passengers a multitude of connections between destinations in Italy, Qatar, Maldives and Singapore.
Writes Airways, Air Italy Deputy Executive Chairman, Marco Rigotti said at the time,
“The commencement of our partnership with Qatar Airways is good news for passengers of both airlines. Our passengers can now benefit from a new choice for visiting Doha or to reach, via Doha, the white sandy beaches of Maldives and one of the most modern and busy Asian city, such as Singapore.”
Italy vs the US
Links between Qatar and Italy are well established. Qatar Airways flew its inaugural flight to Italy in 2002. A year later it launched its Doha to Rome service, followed by services to Venice and Pisa. But the airline’s recent monetary share in Air Italy is not without its critics.
We reported in May of this year that three US airlines have accused Air Italy of “cheating”. American, United and Delta cry foul of its using the state-subsidized gulf carrier to fly routes between Milan, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, and New York.
The three carriers have also disputed Qatar’s investment in Air Italy. They have long-complained about Gulf airlines, which they say are unfairly bankrolled by their governments. Money from executive sponsors, they argue, prevents fair competition.
According to Skift, Delta’s boss Ed Bastian said in June of this year,
“With respect to Meridiana Airlines, it is clear that that airline could not be driving the growth and funding the losses it is clearly having if there wasn’t a strong government entity behind the scenes funding that.”
Meanwhile, Air Italy’s growth and development continues unabated. It aims to acquire 50 aircraft by 2022. More recently, and seemingly in the face of Stateside opposition, the carrier was rumored to be considering a partnership with an unnamed American airline.
Of the recent codeshare expansion, Air Italy’s Chief Operating Officer Rossen Dimitrov said,
“This reinforcement of our partnership with both Qatar Airways and Bulgaria Air reflects our permanent commitment towards our customers.
“We have in fact been continuously enhancing our services and offering new network opportunities and better connectivity, and, with today’s developments, our passengers can now benefit from a great new intercontinental destination from Milan Malpensa: Sydney.