Air Italy has announced that it will suspend operations from the 25th of February. The Italian carrier will be liquidated following a meeting of shareholders today. Qatar Airways is a key shareholder in the airline, owning 49%.
Earlier today many publications were reporting the possibility of liquidation. These were clearly well informed as the airline has officially announced that it will not operate after the 25th of February. Those with bookings beyond this date will be refunded, with flights operating as normal up until and including the 25th of February, albeit by other carriers.
What has Air Italy said?
Air Italy has officially announced that it has decided on “liquidazione in bonis” of the company. A rough translation of this phrase means “performing liquidation”. The airline has announced that flights will operate as normal until the 25th of February, albeit with other carriers. No flights will be operated from the 26th of February onwards.
Passengers due to fly before this date and return afterward can keep their outbound flight, or apply for a refund of any unused flight segments. All flights after the 26th of February will be refunded upon request. If you have a booking with Air Italy and want to find out what to do, please visit their website at www.airitaly.com.
What does Qatar think?
Qatar Airways issued a statement regarding Air Italy’s insolvency proceedings. The airline said that it “was ready once again to play its part in supporting the growth of the airline”. However, this would “only have been possible with the commitment of all shareholders”. As such, it seems that not everybody was on board with the idea of rescuing the carrier.
The Qatari airline additionally mentioned “the changing competitive environment and the increasingly difficult market conditions severely impacting the air transport industry” in its statement. In fact, due to the challenging market conditions, there have been a number of high profile airline casualties in the past couple of years, including the likes of Thomas Cook in the United Kingdom.
A bit more about Air Italy
Air Italy was founded in its current form just under two years ago on the 1st of March 2018. Before then it had been founded as Alisarda in 1963, before being renamed Meridiana in 1991.
According to Planespotters.net, the airline currently has a fleet of 12 aircraft. Four Airbus A330s and eight Boeing 737s. This number of 737s is realistically only five, however, as three are the grounded Boeing 737 MAX. Air Italy had been expecting more of the aircraft when it was grounded. Its four Airbus A330s had come from Qatar Airways and were flying to destinations, including to the United States.
Do you have flights booked with Air Italy? What do you make of the airline’s liquidation announcement? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.